75% of Ontarians favour deposit-return program for drink containers

Stats show just 43% of drink containers get recycled through blue box programs

Those who grew up in the 60s will remember getting two cents back when they returned their empty bottle of pop to the store

An Environics survey has found three-quarters of Ontarians would like to see a return to those kinds of bottle deposits, to help keep those containers from being dumped in landfill sites.

Stats show just 43 per cent of drink containers get recycled through blue box programs, while the deposit-return system at The Beer Store has an 80 per cent return and recycle rate.

Karen Wirsig, the Senior Program Manager for Plastics at Environmental Defence, believes a proposed non-refundable fee program won’t satisfy Ontarians. The beverage industry in Ontario is taking on the responsibility of managing its containers under new waste regulations. They plan to charge consumers a fee to cover their costs, but this fee won’t be given back to consumers. Instead, it will be used to maintain the recycling bin system, which is failing to prevent litter and containers from ending up in landfills, rivers, and streets.

Wirsig argues a deposit-return system for all beverage containers is a common-sense solution to the waste problem in the province. She points out approximately 1.7 billion plastic drink containers are still being dumped into landfills, incinerators, and public spaces each year. In Alberta, 84% of all beverage containers are collected through an efficient deposit-return system.

Wirsig emphasizes the time to move towards a deposit-return system for all beverages in Ontario is now. She urges beverage companies to abandon their plan to stick with what she calls a failing system that passes the costs onto consumers.

NOTE: The survey found respondents aged 65 and older, and those living in rural areas, were most supportive of a deposit-return program, with support reaching 86% and 83%, respectively. However, because of the limited sample size, these views cannot be considered significantly different from the rest of the participants.

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