New Brunswick’s Beverage Containers Program was born in 1992 with the objective of reducing the amount of waste going into landfills and keeping litter off of our roadways and out of our waterways. In response, Encorp Atlantic Inc. was created by the non-alcoholic beverage industry to manage its containers.
When the program was launched in 1992, more than 100 redemption centre licences were granted. Today, 73 privately owned redemption centres operate in New Brunswick. They are licensed and regulated by the Department of Environment and Local Government and paid handling fees by Encorp Atlantic on behalf of non-alcoholic beverage distributors.
The modernization of the Beverage Containers Program in New Brunswick is long overdue. From its inception in 1992, the program was never designed with consumer convenience in mind. The current lack of redemption centre standards has deteriorated the consumer experience over the years. In fact, declining recycling rates in New Brunswick can be directly attributed to this.
Encorp is committed to the long-term sustainability of the Beverage Containers Program as well as continuous improvements and efficiencies. With more than 25 years of experience in the collection, transportation and processing of used beverage containers, Encorp feels any future efficiencies that are to be made to the system must be done at the redemption centre level.
This has been the basis of Encorp’s ongoing “(re)” (i.e. “research”) initiative, launched in 2014. Encorp has been implementing innovative recycling research pilot projects to explore and test new methods of redeeming used beverage containers. Goals include improving recycling rates in New Brunswick and consumer convenience, increasing redemption centre productivity levels, as well as establishing provincial standards.
Re-Express Pilot Project
The Re-Express pilot project was launched on Earth Day 2018 in Moncton. The project’s test phase is set to run with a test demographic of 1,000 participants until March 31, 2019.
Re-Express combines two innovative concepts: an unmanned bag drop-off beverage container depot and fixed-value bags. Both concepts were tested separately in Encorp Atlantic’s Re-Centre (Moncton) and Express Bag (Fredericton) pilot projects. Lessons learned, technology developed and best practices from both models have been combined to create the Re-Express beverage container recycling experience, making recycling empty beverage containers quick, easy and convenient.
Participants register online to get a card linked to their account. They collect their empty beverage containers, drop them off at their convenience at the unmanned Re-Express depot, and collect their refund via an online account. Payment options include cheque, Interac e-Transfer, PayPal, or donating the funds to a charity. There is also a cash out option in-store via the project’s local retail partner, Sobeys Vaughan Harvey.
The Re-Express depot only accepts fixed-value bags, meaning that participants are instructed to collect their containers in specially designed $2/40 bags and fill these bags with 40 New Brunswick deposit-bearing beverage containers. Since almost all deposit-bearing containers give a 5¢ refund, each bag participants drop off at the depot equals a $2 refund.
Re-Centre Pilot Project
-EXTENSION APPROVED IN JUNE 2017-
Launched on Earth Day 2014 (April 22), Re-Centre is an automated bag-drop redemption centre. Customers sign up online, receive a membership card in the mail and are provided bags to collect their used beverage containers. Full bags are brought to the Re-Centre depot. At the depot, members print barcoded bag tags to stick on each of their bags to identify them. Using their member card or bag tags, they then unlock one of three drop doors to deposit their bags. Bags are picked up on a regular basis and processed off-site by Re-Centre staff. Members are credited for the deposit-bearing beverage containers in their bags within one or two business days. Customers can check their balances online and make requests to cash out via cheque, direct deposit, PayPal or donation. In order to demonstrate that redemption centres need to diversify their product streams and that consumers are looking for a one-stop shop for recycling, additional recycling units for e-waste and cardboard were added in April 2016. Learn more.
$2/40 Express Bag Pilot Project
-COMPLETED IN MAY 2017-
Locations: Fredericton, Hanwell, Oromocto
The $2/40 Express Bag pilot project was launched in the Fredericton area in May 2015, in co-operation with three existing redemption centres. Special Express Bags are provided to customers with instructions to fill them with 40 deposit-bearing containers for a fixed refund amount of $2. Using fixed-count bags allows customers to skip the line and receive priority service, thus reducing wait times for customers. It also reduces labour costs for redemption centres as it presents a more efficient way to deal with the peaks and valleys of customer visits. Express Bags can be accumulated during peak times and processed during lows. The trial period for this pilot project ended in May 2017. Learn more.
Re360 Pilot Project
Locations: Moncton, Dieppe
Participating Redemption Centres:
The re360 green recycling boxes, made from post-consumer plastic and designed to fit 60 empty beverage containers, are meant to simplify the customer’s and the redemption centre’s process. For each reusable box filled with 60 deposit-bearing containers, customers receive a $3 refund on the spot. Customers who use the re360 green boxes have priority service: they do not need to wait in line and are able to leave immediately with their emptied boxes. The re360 boxes can contain any New Brunswick deposit-bearing beverage container, so long as it is correctly emptied before it is placed inside the box. This pilot project was launched in April 2017 as a complement to the fixed-count $2/40 Express Bag. Learn more.