January 26, 2004

Alta beverage industry adjusts recycling fees

Beverage container recycling fees in Alberta will be reduced on eight container types and increased on seven, effective February 1. Fees on five other container types will remain unchanged. The adjustments to the beverage industry's container recycling fee system for 2004 are being made in accordance with a not-for-profit formula established by the industry more than a year ago to ensure a sustainable beverage container recycling system in the province.

"This system is designed to ensure that all container types have fees that accurately reflect the net cost of their recovery and processing," said Guy West, general manager of the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (ABCRC), the not-for-profit agent of beverage manufacturers in the province.

When the industry implemented the fee schedule in September 2002, it made a commitment to annual reviews of these fees and any necessary adjustments. Non-refundable recycling fees for designated containers may be charged at retail outlets in addition to refundable deposits.

Designed to provide financial stability for recycling of beverage containers, the fees reflect the difference between the costs of recycling a container, the money from unredeemed deposits and the sale of recyclable material. The system provides for rate adjustments in response to factors such as changes in market conditions (including increased recovery rates) for aluminum, glass, plastic and polycoat containers; a stronger Canadian dollar; and fluctuating commodity prices.

For example, fees on two-litre plastic containers will drop from seven cents to six cents. "This is due to the strengthening of the recycling market price for polyethylene terephthalate (PET)-the plastic used for most soft drink and water bottles," said West. At the same time, a stronger Canadian dollar means that the recycling fee on aluminum cans will increase from zero to one cent per container.

Beer and milk containers will not be affected by the fee changes. Beer containers, while subject to a refundable deposit, are handled through a separate collection system operated by the brewing industry. Milk containers are not currently regulated as a beverage container; voluntary recovery is carried out through various municipal recycling programs. In addition to aluminum cans and PET containers, the province's beverage container recycling program covers glass, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), PVC, polystyrene cups, and Tetra Brik, gable top and drink pouches.

More information is available from Guy West at the ABCRC, 403/264-0170, Web site www.abcrc.com.

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