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Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows milk drinkers will now have to pay a deposit

Retailers will charge 10 cents per bottle which is return when containers are cashed in
Haeden, Darren and Masato work at the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society which will continue to accept milk and milk-alternative containers even after the province brings in a 10 cent deposit. The society won’t be giving deposit refunds, but Return-It Depots will. Any containers dropped off at the recycling society will be cashed in to help fund the society’s programs. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Grocery receipts will print an extra 10 cents for every milk container starting Feb. 1 but the good news is that shoppers can get back that deposit and help save the environment.

Under CleanBC Plastics Action Plan, the provincial government expanded its refund system to include milk and milk-substitute packages in the beverage container program. Residents can return their milk containers for a refund like some do with pop bottles. Under the program, shoppers will be charged a refundable deposit of 10 cents on each eligible container. Consumers will get their deposit back when they return their containers to depots.

According to Leanne Koehn, head of community engagement at Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, deposits encourage people to return recyclable items, eventually reducing waste. While the local recycling society does not offer refunds for any containers that deposits – as it is a non-profit organization – it uses the deposits towards community service projects.

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Residents wanting refunds can head to their nearest Return-It Centre to cash in milk containers.

Koehn said that the recycling process for milk and milk substitute containers would remain the same, but customers will now be required to place them in a different spot.

“It’s not that big a change for customers,” she said.

The society has trained its staff, and Koehn said they would help the customers visiting the depot and streamline the process.

“We will always have somebody in the frontline to help out as well,” she said.

Koehn reminded residents that items like infant formula, meal replacement/dietary supplements, coffee cream, whipping cream, buttermilk or drinkable yogurt are not added to the deposit-refund system. The provincial government is encouraging residents to continue recycling such containers through curbside, multi-family or depot services.

The recycling society only serves Maple Ridge residents and Recycle BC – another non-for-profit – covers the Pitt Meadows region. Pitt Meadows residents can return milk containers to any bottle depot.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Glass collection from depots resumes in Maple Ridge

The program could capture the millions of additional plastic and cartons from homes, restaurants, schools and offices that did not have access to the residential recycling system.

Koehn explained that cleaned, rinsed and already flattened packages save up a lot of space and time for the recycling centre.

The 50-year-old recycling society that will celebrate its golden jubilee this year employs people with developmental disabilities. As per Koehn, society’s efforts ensure a smooth integration of people with disabilities into the community.

“It’s a skills and experience program. It’s a great step for them [people with developmental disabilities] to come to our site and learn the basics like how to get along with co-workers or how to follow a supervisor’s instructions,” she said. “It is a supportive place where they can learn basics and get confident about getting a job somewhere else.”

The program is open for people aged 19 and above and offers work placements for students of the local school district.

Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, located 10092 236th St., Maple Ridge, is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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