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Return-It Centre rolls back refund on beer cans; calls on government to pressure breweries for resolution

If you’re headed down to the PG Recycling and Return-It Centre with all your empties from the holidays, you won’t be pocketing as much cash as you thought.

A pilot program for beer cans, which allowed customers to not sort beer and other aluminum cans, has ended. As a result, the centre has rolled back the refund price of beer bottles and beer cans to five cents per unit or 90 cents for a dozen.

“Representatives of the major brewers – Labatt Breweries Ltd., Molson Coors Canada, and Sleeman Brewing – have not issued a license to our depot for handling beer and alcohol cans for recycling,” the centre posted on its Facebook page. “As a result, our depot – and over 90 other depots across B.C. – are not being paid to manage these containers and therefore cannot provide a full refund.”

The group of 90 depots has raised this issue with the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, “as we do not believe this approach by representatives of the major brewers is fair to either depots or consumers and is in contravention to the spirit and intent behind the Recycling Regulation.”

The post says customers were positive about the six-month pilot project as customers preferred being able to recycle all their aluminum cans in one location and receive a full deposit refund without having to sort their aluminum cans.

The centre is encouraging those who feel the same to provide feedback to the Ministry of Environment or the minister at ENV.minister@gov.bc.ca or your local MLA.

“B.C. is the only jurisdiction in western Canada where customers are still asked to sort their aluminum containers (non-alcohol and alcohol) and are not able to receive a full refund at all locations,” the centre said.

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