Statement from Senior Program Manager for Plastics, Karen Wirsig

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat – We are pleased to hear that the provincial government is taking an active role in designing a deposit-return program for non-alcoholic drink containers as the beverage industry takes over responsibility for its packaging waste in Ontario.

Under provincial regulations, beverage companies in Ontario are required to collect and recycle or refill 75 per cent of their non-alcoholic empties by 2026 and 80 per cent by 2030. But the industry’s “Recycle Everywhere” program (slated to begin on July 1) will not be up to the task of meeting these targets, mainly because it doesn’t include any significant changes to the existing recycling bin program. 

Right now, less than 50 per cent of non-alcoholic beverage containers are collected in recycling bins. This compares to nearly 80 per cent of Beer Store packaging in Ontario and 84 per cent of all beverage containers in Alberta, which are both covered by successful deposit-return programs. 

A deposit-return program for all beverage containers is the best way to prevent litter and keep empties out of landfill and incinerators. It is also more cost-effective than the recycling bin system proposed by the industry. We applaud this move towards deposit return from the provincial government and urge the beverage industry to get on board.  In order to rein in plastic pollution, we must transition to deposit return for all beverage containers in Ontario as soon as possible.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Lauren Thomas, Environmental Defence,