This is the fourth article in a series on provincial beverage-container recovery programs in Canada. Of the programs reviewed to date, Nova Scotia’s operates at the lowest cost; it recovers 76 per cent of beverage containers sold annually at a net system cost of less than a penny per container.
All beverage containers in Nova Scotia are on deposit except those used for milk and milk products The deposit refund program—initiated in April 1996—was the first step in the province’s waste reduction strategy that also includes aggressive curbside recycling and composting. By November 1998, specific material bans included: corrugated cardboard, newsprint, automotive batteries, leaf and yard waste, used tires, waste paint, automotive antifreeze, compostable organic materials, plastic film and bags, steel, aluminum, and glass containers.
The province’s current diversion rate is 34 per cent, and it’s striving for 50 per cent by the year 2000.
The Resource Recovery Fund Board (RRFB)—a private, not-for-profit company— administers both Nova Scotia’s deposit-refund program and the bulk of its waste management regulations.
To recover non-alcoholic beverage containers, the RRFB has partnered with municipalities, more than 90 privately owned Enviro-Depots, regional processors, and cartage companies. Alcohol containers are returned to the Enviro-Depots and the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission’s (NSLC) retail outlets. In March of this year, the NSLC will stop collecting and managing alcohol containers; the RRFB will assume these duties (via the depots) and refillable beer bottles will be managed separately by the breweries. Since the program was implemented two and a half years ago, the annual beverage container recovery rate has risen to 76 per cent.