Toward 2025 – Phase 2 of deposit-refund modernization

Network of Consignaction return sites takes shape

Montreal, April 2, 2024 -
Ahead of the March 2025 rollout of Phase 2 of modernization of the deposit-refund system, this spring the Quebec Beverage Container Recycling Association (QBCRA)/Consignaction is beginning implementation of a network of at least 1,500 Consignaction return sites across Quebec. By the end of 2026, this infrastructure will comprise up to 400 new return sites—entirely dedicated to recovery of redeemable containers—as well as sites at already participating retailers.

“The Quebec Beverage Container Recycling Association/Consignaction’s return-site model is innovative in terms of customer experience and inspired by best practices,” said Normand Bisson, President and CEO, QBCRA. “These return sites are a key factor in achieving our target recovery rate of 90% by 2032. The goal is to provide Quebecers with rapid, efficient points of service using high-performance equipment powered by next-generation technology.”

Expansion of deposit-refund to include more containers

When Phase 2 is launched on March 1, 2025, a wide variety of additional beverage containers, including bottles of wine and spirits as well as water bottles, will become redeemable, as will an additional material: multi-layer carton. 

A robust, accessible hybrid network
In collaboration with its partners, the QBCRA/Consignaction will implement a robust network of return sites with sufficient capacity to process the expected large volumes of beverage containers, as the number of units subject to the expanded system increases to 5 billion from 2.8 billion. To achieve this, a hybrid network will be used. On the one hand, return sites at retailers, dubbed “Zone Consignaction”, will be equipped with next-generation reverse vending machines that will crush glass and compact other materials (aluminum, plastic and multi-layer carton). These will be complemented by Consignaction and Consignaction+ return sites in streetfront locations, exclusively dedicated to redeemable-container returns and with the capacity to rapidly process large quantities. The QBCRA/Consignaction plans to open nearly 200 of these sites by March 1, 2025 (seeFact sheet 4  – Description and Features of Consignaction Return Sites). All of these sites will be easily accessible and located along the most usual grocery-shopping routes. In addition, users will have the option of receiving their refund via a mobile app. 

Consignaction: single and express returns
The Consignaction return sites will be set up in commercial spaces branded with the Consignaction logo and colours. Citizens who use these spaces will be able to use the new-generation automated recycling machines (single-unit returns) or the express return service, as they wish. This service will allow them to drop off bags of unsorted containers, provided they have created an account on the mobile application website or have downloaded it onto their smartphone. Once the containers have been sorted and counted, their refund will be sent by secure electronic means. . See the mock-ups in the press room on the Consignaction website.

Consignaction+: single-unit, express and bulk returns 
The Consignaction+ return sites will be larger and capable of processing very large volumes, making them attractive to citizens, industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) customers as well as establishments offering on-site consumption. In addition to single-unit and express returns, they will offer bulk return service, thanks to even more efficient equipment that will enable processing of hundreds of containers in minutes.
 See the mock-ups on the Consignaction website’s press room.

Progress report on Phase 1

The QBCRA/Consignaction gave a positive assessment of Phase 1 of the deposit-refund modernization, which began on November 1, 2023. Since then, the system has accommodated some 300 million additional aluminum beverage containers, which are now redeemable and for which the deposit amount has been increased to 10 cents in the majority of cases. And the results of a fall 2023 survey of 1,000 respondents show that 90% of people are aware that the deposit amount has risen to 10 cents. 

Quebecers have actively participated in the deposit-refund system, as evidenced by the in-store redemption rate, which increased by 9% during the period November 2023 to February 2024 versus the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, the rate of beverage containers rejected by reverse vending machines is down by more than 50%, to 1.3% from 3%. That success is the result of concerted efforts by the QBCRA/Consignaction and its partners.

Consignaction and the Quebec Beverage Container Recycling Association (QBCRA) 
Since 2001, programs branded with the Consignaction name have promoted beverage-container recovery to citizens and companies. Consignaction is the official emblem for promoting the activities of the QBCRA to the public and stakeholders. The QBCRA is the designated management body (DMB) for the development, implementation, financing and management of the modernized deposit-refund system, in line with the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR). Its members are the various beverage producers involved in the recovery, reuse, recycling and reclamation of beverage containers in Quebec. For more information, visit  www.consignaction.ca

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For more information, please contact Annie Jolicoeur, 514 231-5818, [email protected]