What can be returned?

These are examples of the type of used beverage containers included in the refundable deposit system.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the containers you return to your local Bottle Depot? Here’s a summary of some of the processes:

Aluminum cans
These are crushed and then baled into a large block. Then transported in bales that weigh over 20 tons and contain over 1.2 million containers. These bales are sold as a commodity and the aluminum is melted down and reformed into more aluminum cans. This entire process only takes 60 days before the old container is recycled, refilled, and back on the store shelf.

PET (clear plastic)
Clear plastic beverage containers are baled, shredded and the plastic flakes are sold as a commodity. In some cases the plastic is then put through a process whereby it is turned into a fibre that can be used to make fleece jackets and vests among other items. Most of the plastic that ABCRC collects is used to make new bottles for things like motor oil or bleach.

Clear glass containers are collected and the glass is crushed and formed into tiny spheres. The spheres are added to road paint which markes the lines on the roads. This is what makes the lines reflective. The coloured glass is used to make fibreglass insulation for homes.

Drink boxes are made up of three material types: paper, an aluminum lining, and a plastic coating. Each container goes through a hydro-pulping process that separates the different material types. The resulting paper pulp is then used to make cardboard boxes of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Beverage container metal tins and cans are baled and then melted down to be turned into scrap metal, which can then be used as construction re-bar.

For bag-in-a-box containers, they just pull out the plastic bag and recycle the bag and the box separately. Manufacturing the pulp from bag-in-a-box and gable top containers is fairly coarse, so the new paper made from it is quite strong. That makes it suitable for tough objects like cardboard boxes.

Gable Top
Gable top cartons are made only of paper and plastic. Each container goes through a hydro-pulping process that separates the different material types. The resulting paper pulp is then used for all kinds of industrial paper products.

Milk Jugs
Effective June 1, 2009, Alberta was the first jurisdiction in North America to include milk and cream containers in a regulated deposit/refund system.

Contact Us

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403.556.4110 (Olds Office)
403.901.1951 (Strathmore Office)
403.863.2690 (Airdrie Office)

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Box 3940, 4322 - 50 Ave
Olds, Alberta T4H 1P6

Bay 103-104, 95 Brent Blvd
Strathmore, Alberta T1P 1R8

44 Gateway Drive NE
Airdrie, Alberta T4B 0J6

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