In Alberta, all empty containers that held ready to serve liquids can be returned to a bottle depot. When you return the containers, you will get back the deposit that was paid at the time of purchase, regardless of whether you paid it yourself or not.
The term “ready to serve” can sometimes be a bit vague. We get a lot of questions about what that means, what type of materials and containers the bottle depot accepts and how much each one is worth when returned. In order to help you make sense of the bottle return process, we’ve put together some general information to guide you.
What is a “ready to serve” container?
The term “ready to serve” means that the contents of the container do not have to be mixed or prepared in order to be consumed. You may choose to prepare them in another fashion, but as they are sold, they are consumable as they are.
An example of this is Gatorade. When you purchase Gatorade that is prepared and ready to go, you will pay a deposit on the bottle at the time of purchase. The deposit is required no matter what size the bottle is and no matter how many you buy at once. If you purchase a case of 24 bottles, you will pay the required deposit 24 times. That also means you’ll get the refund on every container used, no matter how you bought them.
But if you were to look at Gatorade powder that needs to be added to water and mixed in order to drink, the container it comes in is not subject to a deposit paid at the time of purchase, which means the bottle depot would not accept it, nor would they give you a refund for the container. It would belong in the recycle or garbage, depending on the materials it is made of.
What types of containers go back to the bottle depot?
Again, provided it is a ready to serve container, it had a deposit paid and can be taken to the bottle depot to collect a refund and the container will be recycled appropriately.
Common ready to serve containers include:
- Milk cartons – paper, glass or plastic
- Plastic water bottles; soda water cans or bottles
- Juice cartons such as tetra packs and juice boxes; glass or plastic juice containers
- Pop or soda cans; plastic or glass bottles
- Beer bottles or cans
- Wine and liquor bottles
You can find more details about What To Recycle on our website.
How much money do I get back for returning containers at the bottle depot?
The refund amount paid per containers is reflective of the deposit taken at the time of purchase. To keep things simple, there are only two different deposit/refund amounts and they are based on the amount of liquid the container holds.
For containers holding under one litre of ready to serve product, the deposit and refund are 10 cents.
For containers holding one litre of liquid or more, the deposit and refund are 25 cents.
When you take your containers to a bottle depot, they attendant will count how many of each type of bottle you have to calculate how much your refund is. You can learn more about refund amounts here.
Which bottle depot is the best one to go to?
Obviously, we are biased, but the best bottle depot in NE Calgary is ours, Happy Can Bottle Depot. This is because we are a well established bottle depot that strives to consistently improve our facility and services to give you a great experience.
We know that bottle recycling is a necessity and most people do not enjoy doing it. We seek to make the chore as straightforward for you as we can. We also offer convenient services such a free residential and commercial pick up and support for local bottle drives.
Check out our blog for more information on what makes ours the best bottle depot in your area!