No Can Refund = No Easy Recycling


I buy my beer at our corner store. I probably could save a few bucks if I bought in bulk at Costco, but, alas, we don’t have anywhere in our apartment to store 50 cans of beer, but I’m working on it. I also prefer to support local merchants, not just during a pandemic, but whenever possible. During the first wave of COVID-19 confinement one of the things that was put on hold was the recycling of cans. There was a sign on most storefronts asking people not to return empties for the time being.

I’m not the world’s best when it comes to recycling, however over several months the empties started to pill up. Add to my empty Coors Light cans my wife’s Bubly sparkling water cans and it wasn’t long before we were running out of room. Fortunately, as the original confinement started to be eased, stores once again were accepting empty cans for recycling.

However, my local store owner remained leery of handling used cans. “As long as I don’t have to touch them” was his compromise

However, my local store owner remained leery of handling used cans. “As long as I don’t have to touch them” was his compromise. No problem. In the interest of tidiness, I usually put my empty cans back in the box. Therefore, I was able to bring back to his store numerous cartons of empties safely packed in black garbage bags. I told him how many there were, he trusted me, and gave me my refund. He had two layers of protection and seemed comfortable with this arrangement.

All was going well until I plopped a Bubly can into the aluminium eating beast’s mouth. It coughed, sputtered and regurgitated the can

But a few cartons were torn, and others got wet. So I found myself with a bag of loose cans. Rather than alienate my corner shop owner, I strolled to the nearest supermarket and parked myself in front of the recently reopened can return machine. I started pushing empty cans into the opening. All was going well until I plopped a Bubly can into the aluminium eating beast’s mouth. It coughed, sputtered and regurgitated the can.

Bubly vs Coors Light

I figured I had placed the can incorrectly, sometimes these machines can be finicky. So I tried again only to have the same result. At this point a passing store employee happened along and told me that the machine will not accept Bubly cans. As I mentioned, I’m not exactly a poster child for recycling, yet I was still taken aback. The employee showed me that here in Quebec, there is no deposit charged on Bubly. He illustrated this by showing me the top of the can. It clearly states that the can is recyclable, but just as clearly leaves out any reference to a deposit. The Coors can carried both messages.

Why, in 2020, would a company – in this case Pepsico – sell a product in a can that is recyclable, but not require a deposit to promote returns? Or is it the government’s bailiwick to ensure can deposits?

Why, in 2020, would a company – in this case Pepsico – sell a product in a can that is recyclable, but not require a deposit to promote returns? Or is it the government’s bailiwick to ensure can deposits?

I asked the employee what I should do with the 15 or so Bubly cans. He shrugged and pointed to the garbage bin, it had several Bubly cans in it already. I do believe that even cans put in the trash eventually get recycled because they have some value by weight. Not to worry, as someone who, as a student, worked for my city, I can assure you your refuse is well picked over for absolutely anything of value.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

2 thoughts on “No Can Refund = No Easy Recycling

  1. Dear Deegan, it’s obvious that to save the planet you have to get Marie Luisa drinking beer in eco- friendly disposable tins. Lin

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. It comes down to whether the producer pays into the provincial consignment system. Note that Quebec’s local cider industry has been exempted from buying into the consignment container (Note the “Recyclable” stamp on their cans). Clearly they know which Minister’s palms may be successfully greased.

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