Some Lower Mainland bottle depots have been overwhelmed during the pandemic, seeing huge lineups. (Black Press Media files)

Some Lower Mainland bottle depots have been overwhelmed during the pandemic, seeing huge lineups. (Black Press Media files)

Maple Ridge Return-It centre serves as pilot for new beverage recycling effort

Haney Bottle Depot will be part of a six-month trial where consumers don’t have to sort their cans

Now that summer is officially here, British Columbians will be spending more time enjoying the outdoors.

And whether the activity is hiking or camping in the forest, soaking up the sun at the beach, hitting a bike trail, or simply relaxing on the patio, many will be cooling down with a refreshing beverage in a recyclable can.

That’s why Return-It is launching a suite of modernization initiatives that manage the province’s recycling system for beverage containers with refundable deposits, and it’s why Haney Bottle Depot has signed on to be part of one of those initiatives.

Specifically, they’ll be part of a six-month single-stream pilot program that enables consumers to return both alcohol and non-alcohol aluminum beverage cans together for recycling – without having to sort them. It is all done in one stream with one deposit amount.

READ MORE: B.C. Return-It to double recycling deposits for pop cans, juice boxes

This and other initiatives reflect feedback from consumers and put a clear focus on enhancing the Return-It recycling system to divert more material from our landfills, oceans, and waterways, said Allen Langdon, president and CEO of Return-It – a province-wide, not-for-profit product stewardship organization is also using new transportation technologies to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with recycling.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Return-It has been adapting and evolving its system by reducing touch points while improving convenience.

A series of other initiatives being rolled out this year to modernize the beverage container recycling system for a greener future will include:

· Expanding the number of Return-It Express Plus and solar-powered Express & GO contactless return stations around the province, including Vancouver Island, with new stations located in partnership with major retailers and shopping centres;

· Implementing a 10-cent unified deposit for all beverage containers – starting this fall – to simplify the overall system and make it even easier for consumers to recycle all their beverage containers – regardless of the size;

· Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the implementation of a hybrid compaction truck that will reduce the number of vehicles used to transport containers for processing;

· Partnering with the Salvation Army to expand Return-It’s popular textiles collection program to safely drop off used clothing for recycling; and

· Introducing new automated sorting technologies and reverse-vending machines inside select Return-It depots to limit touch points in order to improve safety for depot employees and support the recycling experience.

“Even in these unprecedented times, British Columbians agree that recycling is important,” Langdon said.

“That’s why we are doing even more to help consumers easily return their empty beverage containers for recycling, with innovations that build on our success and provide new, convenient options for today’s busy lives.”

RELATED: Ridge Meadows recycling depot to relax car limit

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many into new routines, people can’t lose sight of the importance of maintaining good recycling habits, said Alison Wood, co-founder of Ocean Ambassadors Canada, an organization committed to turning the tide of marine pollution by empowering youth, creating ambassadors, and inspiring change.

“I applaud Return-It for finding new ways to help British Columbians return their beverage containers – safely and conveniently – so we can ensure they don’t end up in our oceans and waterways,” she said.

“It is great to see Return-It modernizing its system to make beverage container recycling more convenient for British Columbians,” said Brock Macdonald, CEO of the Recycling Council of BC. “These initiatives are a positive step forward in improving recovery rates and keeping material out of our landfills.”

Haney Bottle Depot is located at 22935 Lougheed Hwy.

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