The Re-Centre research projects started in 2014 by Encorp Atlantic are now all completed. The information and data collected provided valuable data on consumer convenience factors and public perception toward new ways of collecting deposit-bearing containers in New Brunswick. The culmination of these eight years of projects allowed Encorp to glimpse into the future of post-consumer beverage container management. The six-projects demonstrated foresight and innovation in an otherwise antiquated approach to collecting post-consumer beverage containers in the province.
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 New Brunswick program currently has one of the lowest redemption rates in Canada. When the program was first launched in 1992, more than 108 RC licences were granted. Today, only 68 RCs remain in operation. During our research period, we observed emerging trends and best management practices in other legislated beverage container jurisdictions. Among the most significant observations are the growing emergence of both the bag-drop concept in automated centres, as well as express services. Our research projects were successful in testing more convenient ways for consumers to return their containers while optimizing labour productivity for operators.
Re-Centre participants have provided overwhelming support for the unmanned bag-drop concept and wish to see it expand. The discussion will now move to the next phase: How we transition from the current program to a user-friendly approach. Furthermore, ignoring access and convenience factors for consumers in the short term in New Brunswick will simply further erode the consumer experience and contribute to a further decline in recycling rates.