The long-awaited modernization of the New Brunswick Beverage Containers Program – under its new extended producer responsibility (EPR) model – is about to begin! Encorp has many new initiatives that redemption centre (RC) operators and consumers will be pleased with. A new consolidated Sort List and a full return on consumer beverage container deposits are among the highlights scheduled to commence on April 1, 2024.
In addition, we will be hosting regional meetings across New Brunswick in February for RC operators. The aim is to provide further updates on the new EPR program, transition details, two-year service agreements for RCs, and general operational and logistics information.
It is worth noting that the big-picture challenge in increasing the used beverage container (UBC) recovery rate in New Brunswick isn’t necessarily regarding the current customer base using RCs, but on those who are reluctant to visit the nearly 70 centres across the province. Recent consumer research has enabled Encorp to identify priority demographics, including young adults aged 18-35 and busy parents aged 45 and under. Encorp will particularly need to promote UBC recycling among these demographics as improvements are made to the UBC return/redemption experience.
Furthermore, we are thrilled with the outcomes of our Recycling Heroes in School Program since its launch in the fall of 2023. The program has enlisted nearly forty schools collaborating with local RCs to recycle UBCs. We commit to nearly doubling this number by the end of 2024 (our goal i to enroll at least 75 schools before December 31, 2024) and extending the initiative until all public schools (approx. 325) in the province participate. The objective of our school recycling initiative is not only to boost the overall UBC recovery rate but also to educate and cultivate a new generation of recyclers.
Our efforts to increase UBC recovery volumes will require some RC standardization. Moving forward, our relationship with RC operators needs to be, above all else, a business-to business relationship. This will require working with RCs on a case-by-case basis with a focus on long-term program sustainability and improvements to access and convenience for consumers so that more and more New Brunswickers see the value of – and find it convenient – to return and redeem their UBCs.