Questions and answers
About the Deposit System
The deposit system is a recovery method based on the temporary collection of a deposit when a container is sold. In order to encourage a consumer to return containers for recovery and recycling, this deposit is refundable. This deposit–refund system represents no cost for the person returning containers. Only those who choose to throw containers away bear any financial cost. Concretely, a consumer who buys a soft drink in a container subject to the public deposit–return system, automatically pays a deposit of 5¢ to the retailer. This deposit is refunded when the empty container is returned. More than one billion single-fill soft drink containers are sold annually in Quebec. Thanks to the deposit–refund system and consumer efforts, bottlers recover about two-thirds of the single-fill containers sold.
The deposit system is an effective incentive that increases the recovery rate of both beverage containers consumed at home and those consumed in public places.
The system also promotes recovery of quality materials through sorting at source. In fact, sorting at the source makes it possible to reduce contamination of recovered materials by other materials and makes recycling the containers more efficient.
Refundable cans and bottles, which are returned to the merchant (retailer), are 100% recycled. When you return your containers, you reduce the use of the material at its source, and you reduce energy waste and polluting emissions. Therefore, you significantly reduce your ecological footprint. By giving new life to your containers, you participate in the collective effort to improve the planet’s health and environment.
Recycling aluminum, glass and plastic at the source saves energy that would have been consumed to extract, transport and transform the raw materials needed to manufacture new containers. With the deposit–return system, recovered materials are of better quality because the sorting of materials is done at the source. There is less sorting to be done by the processing plants, less breakage, less unwanted residual material, and a better resale price of the materials for more efficient and cleaner recycling!
To find out more about recovery statistics on Quebec’s deposit system, see: https://bge-quebec.com/en/recovery-statistics/.
To find out about other advantages of the deposit system, please visit this informative page on our website.
Non-refillable containers (also called CRU) of soft drinks and beer whose characteristics and properties mean that they cannot be reused for the same purposes for which they were originally designed. It is the only type of container that is part of the public deposit–return system at this time. It is usually plastic, aluminum or glass. It may also be metal.
There is also a deposit on some refillable containers. Known as CRM, these containers can be reused a minimum of 10 times for the same purpose for which they were originally designed. CRMs include all glass bottles, the vast majority of which are beer bottles or cooler type products. They are subject to a private deposit (agreement between the distributor and retailers).
To get the updated and complete list of refundable containers, visit this page.
Containers with the mark “Consignée Québec XX¢ Refund” are currently returnable containers (RUCs) within the meaning of the Act. These containers are clearly identified by the words “Consignée Québec XX¢ Refund” accompanied by the refundable value in cash (5¢, 10¢ or 20¢ as the case may be). With some exceptions, these are aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles of soft drinks and beer.
Non-refillable containers (RUCs) that bear the inscriptions “Where required by law” or “Where facilities exist” are not returnable containers and are not subject to the Act. They include all the other types of containers not mentioned so far: water bottles, cans of mineral water or tomato juice or others. You do not pay any deposit amount when purchasing these containers and therefore you will not receive any refund for their return. We recommend you to put those in the recycling bin.
Nothing could be easier!
The system has been set up to simplify recovery of returnable containers. When you’re on the go or at home, make sure you always save your containers so they can be brought back to the right place. Whether it is in the deposit box located in your work place or in public places, at the retailer’s counter or in the reverse vending machine at your closest grocery store, all containers brought back will be 100% recycled. It’s up to us to take action!
Bottlers recover the empty containers from the retailers in order to bring them to one of our accredited processing plant who will process the containers, sort them by material and then send them to aluminum, plastic or glass recyclers in order to produce new containers to be used to bottle new drinks. That’s how we close the loop!
To see it illustrated, visit Your container’s journey page.
As the deposit system is governed by law, you must hold a license to sell and distribute soft drinks, issued by the Ministère de l’environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC). For all the details, consult the BGE website or contact us at 1 877 CANETTE.
Deposit System Modernization
Premier François Legault and Minister of the Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, Benoit Charette, have confirmed that the Quebec government will expand the deposit–return system to cover all ready-to-drink beverage containers from 100 millilitres to 2 litres, whether plastic, glass or aluminum, by the end of 2023. Multi-layer cardboard type containers such as milk and juice containers will also be targeted, but in a second phase. The objective of this deposit-return modernization project is to recover more containers for recycling, while improving the quality of materials recovered through this method of sorting at source.
The pilot project phase makes it possible to test container return options, and to accumulate the information required to develop the future model. In particular, we seek to validate operational recovery concepts and assess the response of citizens.
Implemented in urban and regional contexts, these pilot projects are currently being tested in 6 cities in Quebec.
After this trial period, the consortium will be able to determine the most efficient type of system for recovering containers already deposited and those which are not currently subject to the deposit–return system, but which will be included in the new system.
To know more, visit https:/onconsigne.ca.
Please note that our recovery equipment has been designed for public places that are served by a pick-up service. That said, you can still get our gear, but you should know that retailers are not under any obligation to accept the bags you have filled. This is why we invite you to check with your retailer before engaging in this activity or transporting your bags.
If you would like to purchase the equipment, visit our online store.
If you are an individual, check the list of wholesalers that distribute our collection boxes and bags to avoid unnecessary transportation costs. You can also check with retailers who accept full bags, as they may be able to sell you a bag individually at the service counter or give it to you free of charge. It is advisable to call before you go.
If you are a business, check with your soft drink supplier or refundable container collector. These should be able to provide you with collection bags for your box. For more details, contact us at 1 877 CANETTE or by email at: [email protected]
Delivery charges vary from region to region. To avoid additional charges, check the list of wholesalers that distribute our boxes and collection bags.
Returning Refundable Containers
Containers clearly identified by the words “Consignée Québec xx¢ Refund,” accompanied by the refundable value in cash (5¢, 10¢ or 20¢ as the case may be), are all refundable with the retailer.
If you have recovered a large number of containers and you have accumulated a few bags, consider donating them to a charity or an organization in your area such as Scouts or Cadet groups, youth centres or others. They will be very grateful. Unfortunately, we do not maintain lists of community organizations. We invite you to contact your municipality.
Your containers can be brought at the retailer’s counter or in an automated reverse vending machine at your closest grocery store. All refundable containers will be 100% recycled.
Some retailers accept the official clear bags filled to the green line without the obligation of putting the containers one by one through the reverse vending machine. However, since the bags are not designed for residential use, it is possible that a retailer might refuse them. This decision is left to their discretion, there is no obligation on their part. It is therefore advisable to always contact the retailer before you go. Generally speaking, large grocery stores are more likely to accept them.
Bags with plastic or aluminum containers must be filled to the green line. Plastic bottles and cans must be placed in separate bags.
- You must ensure that there are no non-refundable containers in the bags.- Bags with glass bottles will not be accepted.
- You can return glass bottles individually, but if you have more than a few, it is recommended they be placed in a cardboard box.
To find out if a container is refundable, consult the official list of returnable containers.
Obviously, this depends on the type of container (aluminum can or plastic bottle) and the value of the containers in it (5¢, 10¢ or 20¢). To assess the value of a bag filled to the green line fairly accurately, the bags must only be filled with containers of the same material and size, hence the importance of prior sorting. The chart opposite indicates the approximate number of containers of the same type that each bag can contain. This number was established after counting several sample bags filled with containers available on the market. This calculation method avoids having to count the containers one by one and speeds up the processing of the containers and reimbursement of the deposit. In the event that a bag is not correctly sorted and contains a mixture of formats, the value of the bag is established according to the apparent proportion of containers of format X and containers of format Y. It goes without saying that to establish the exact value of a bag of returnable containers, it is always preferable to use automated collectors (reverse vending machines).
|Quantity set*||Amount paid|
|Bag of small cans (0.05¢)||240||12,00$|
|Bag of large cans (0.20¢)||100||20,00$|
|Bag of plastic bottles in 600ml, 710ml, etc. (other than 1L and 2L)||120||6,00$|
|Bag of plastic bottles 1L||80||4,00$|
|Bag of plastic bottles 2L||40||2,00$|
The retailer remits the deposit refund amount to the customer in cash.
Enterprise Picking Service
If your business is served by a returnable container delivery service, such as a soft drink supplier, we invite you to return your empty containers to this supplier. If it is directly served by Coca-Cola or Pepsi, you must return your containers to them. Otherwise, contact us to find out if you are eligible for the Consignaction caravan recovery service.
The pick-up service set up by Consignaction is reserved for businesses. Certain conditions apply. You must contact Consignaction to discuss the possibility of a pick-up at 1 877 CANETTE or write to us at: [email protected] – Please note that this service is not available for individuals or private residences.
The service area includes the major urban centers of Quebec, from the North and South shores of the island of Montreal to Quebec City, plus Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke. If you believe your business may be located outside the zone, contact us anyway at 1 877 CANETTE or write to us at: [email protected] to discuss other pick-up possibilities.
A retailer that sells refundable containers of soft drinks or beer in one-time-refillable containers (RRUs) is required by law to take them back and return the deposit value to consumers. Except in the case of a refillable beer bottle, a retailer cannot refuse to take back a returnable container on the pretext that it does not sell that brand. If a retailer refuses to take back your returnable container, contact us at [email protected] and we will follow up accordingly.
Some retailers accept official clear BGE bags filled to the green line without asking to deposit the containers one by one in their automated reverse vending machines. However, the procedure for container returns is at the retailer’s discretion and it is possible that they may insist that the containers be deposited in the automated reverse vending machine. Therefore, if you wish to deposit a whole bag of containers, it is advisable to contact the retailer before you go. Generally speaking, the large grocery stores are more likely to accept bagged returns.
No, this is illegal. If this happens, be sure to keep your invoice as proof and send it to us at: [email protected].
If a retailer refuses to reimburse the deposit for a container bearing the mention “Consignée Québec,” accompanied by the refundable value in cash, please inform us by filling out the form provided for this purpose. To do this, you will need the full address of the retailer, the date, time and reason for the refusal, name of the product, and the size and the number of containers that were refused. We will do an appropriate follow-up.
No. Please fill out the complaint form. Make sure you have the retailer’s full address and as many details as possible. We will follow up as appropriate.
No. Please fill out the complaint form if you have experienced this. Make sure you have the retailer’s full address, date, time and the retailer’s reason for limiting the number of containers returned. We will do an appropriate follow-up.
No. Please fill out the complaint form if you have experienced this. Make sure you have the retailer’s full address and, if possible, the date and time of the event. We will do an appropriate follow-up
A retailer must reimburse the deposit on all containers that bear the mention “Consignée Québec,” regardless of the brands sold in the store. The only exception is for refillable beer bottles (usually brown). If this situation occurs, please complete the complaint form with the full address of the retailer and, if possible, the date and time of the refusal. We will also need the product name, and the size and quantity of containers that were refused. Provide as much detail as possible. We will do an appropriate follow-up.
If you believe that a retailer or bottler is not fulfilling its obligations under the deposit system, we invite you to complete the complaint form and we will follow up as soon as possible.
To file a complaint regarding a beer container, please contact Recyc-Québec via this link: https://www.recyc-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/nous-joindre/.