AQRCB reports positively on pilot projects

Montreal, June 16, 2023 - The Association québécoise de récupération des contenants de boissons (AQRCB) has given a positive assessment of the nine pilot projects that took place in Quebec between July 2021 and April 2023. The designated management organization is drawing on the results of these experiments to design the new, modernized and expanded deposit-refund system that will be deployed
deployed from November 1, 2023.

Nine pilot projects in two phases
In Phase I, seven pilot projects were carried out between July 31, 2021 and April 30, 2022 in six cities: Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Châteauguay, Granby, Mont-Laurier, Montreal (2) and Terrebonne. In Phase II, two new pilot projects were carried out between October 24, 2022 and April 30, 2023 in Quebec City and Victoriaville. Click on the cities to see the results of each project.

"The pilot projects conducted by the Association québécoise de récupération de contenants de boissons and its partners are an essential step in the deployment of the deposit-refund extended and modernized system. The response from the public shows great interest in developing an efficient deposit-refund system to optimize beverage container recovery and recycling.
Normand Bisson, President and CEO of the AQRCB. The pilot projects have resulted in the recovery of more than 17.5 million returnable beverage containers and beverage containers not yet subject to deposit-refund.

Numerous variables observed
The pilot projects collected data on :
- the different types of return locations: in grocery stores, with or without bag depots or stand-alone kiosks;
- available technologies, including a variety of latest-generation automated recycling machines;
- impacts related to socio-demographic aspects, geographical context, population density in a given area, etc.

A few highlights
Among the lessons learned from the pilot projects, here are a few highlights.

Making it easier for consumers
The pilot projects highlighted the incentives and disincentives for returning returnable beverage containers. The data collected show that extended opening hours, accessibility, ease of use, efficiency, speed, cleanliness and security all contribute to an enhanced customer experience.

Innovation at the heart of the expanded deposit-refund
Automation is at the heart of the successful deployment of the expanded and modernized deposit-refund : more efficient recycling machines, especially those that crush glass, electronic reimbursement, specialized equipment for materials handling and transportation, etc. The benefits are numerous, from reduced labor costs and improved recovery logistics to greater autonomy for the citizen and better quality of the material to be recycled.
quality of the material to be recycled.

Bag drop-off popular
According to the results of a survey carried out in April 2023 among 408 users of the two bag drop-off facilities in Quebec City, 81% of citizens said they were very satisfied or satisfied with this mode of recovery. According to the AQRCB, the bag drop-off service could be offered at future return locations.

Click on the Pilot Projects Final Report for details.

Next steps
From November 1, 2023, the modernization of the deposit-refund system will take off. Initially, deposit-refund will be extended to all aluminum ready-to-drink beverage containers, from 100 ml to 2 l, and will be maintained on plastic and glass containers currently under deposit-refund (soft drinks and beer). The deposit-refund will then be $0.10 for all returnable beverage containers and $0.25 for all returnable glass bottles of 500 ml or more.

Other plastic, glass and multi-layer cardboard beverage containers (juice, water, wine and spirits, milk) will be subject to deposit-refund in a subsequent phase on March 1, 2025.

Association québécoise de récupération des contenants de boissons

The Association québécoise de récupération des contenants de boissons (AQRCB) is the designated management organization (DMO). Its mandate is to develop, implement, finance and manage the deposit-refund system, based on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle. It brings together the various beverage producers involved in the recovery, reuse, recycling and reclamation of beverage containers in Quebec. For more information, visit

Annie Jolicoeur, S2B l'Agence, 514 231-5818, [email protected]