Beverage product consumers can be categorized into two groups: those who return/redeem their deposit-bearing beverage containers and those who do not. Both groups pay the deposit at retail, but, unfortunately, not all consumers go through the effort of returning their used beverage containers (UBCs) to a redemption centre (RC). While sales of deposit bearing containers in the province have increased by 15.1% over the past 5 years (2015–2020), redeemed unit volumes have only increased by 8.5%.
To increase UBC recovery rates, we must understand what motivates consumers to redeem or not redeem their deposit-bearing beverage containers. Encorp has thus been conducting consumer research over the past few months to get up-to-date information on their perceptions of the New Brunswick Beverage Containers Program (BCP). Consumers are clear about expectations; “It’s not just about the experience; it’s also about location, convenience and access.”
After a most challenging year, we know that the time has come to bring about transformative changes and improvements to the BCP. The challenge is achieving a sustainable model with a holistic view of stakeholders’ needs, while embracing available technologies benefitting consumers. One overarching theme that must be part of a revamped recycling program is that it needs to be consumer-focused.
Stakeholders involved in the BCP collectively possess the knowledge to make the New Brunswick model a better industry managed stewardship program and build a world class recycling program that all New Brunswickers deserve. We are happy to report that a collaborative process initiated this past fall by Encorpwith stakeholders regarding setting operational standards and guidelines for RCs is continuing this year and leading to very fruitful discussions on improving many aspects of the program which have enormous potential to benefit RC operators and beverage consumers alike.
We at Encorp start 2021 even more committed to maintaining a leadership role in bringing about program changes for the management of post-consumer beverage containers in New Brunswick. We are setting ambitious targets for increasing UBC recovery rates. We are leading discussions on the modernization and branding of UBC collection points and we are on the cusp of being able to roll out various technology initiatives in RCs across the province. We have a timely opportunity to demonstrate leadership and to work with all stakeholders to propel the aging New Brunswick program to new heights and performance levels.