Container Recycling Guide

Products We Recycle


Vertical Cans

  • Cans
  • Milk Containers
  • Milk Jugs
  • Glass Bottles
  • Coloured "PET" Bottles
  • Clear "PET" Bottles
  • Bimetals
  • Foils
  • Juice Boxes
  • Beer Bottles

What are container deposits?

Container deposit refund levels are set through government legislation.

Current deposits are:

Litre refund1 Litre & Under = $0.10
Over 1 Litre = $0.25

Container Volume Refund Level
1 Litre & Less $0.10
Over 1 Litre $0.25
Beer Bottles and Cans 1 Litre & Less $0.10
Beer Bottles and Cans over 1 Litre $0.25

What are Recycling Fees?

What Recycling feesBeyond your fully refundable deposit, a non-refundable container recycling fee or environmental levy may be applied at the point of purchase to cover the net costs in recycling beverage containers. Fees are based on a not-for-profit formula and presently range from no charge to up to 8 cents per container. The fee is a few pennies on your grocery bill but greatly helps to keep tonnes of waste from ending up in Alberta landfills.

Which type of containers are Refundable?

What ContainersAll "ready-to-serve" beverage containers sold in Alberta are part of the collection system. There are over 50,000 different beverage container products registered in Alberta. Shown below are just a few samples of common containers. Please check with your local bottle depot if you are not sure if a refund applies to a container, or contact the Beverage Container Management Board.

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Plastic Drink Bottles

i.e. water bottles and soft drink bottles

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Plastic Jugs, Poly Cups* & Bottles

i.e. clear, coloured and opaque plastic beverage containers

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Aluminum Cans

i.e. pop, juice, 'energy' drinks & beer

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Polycoat Containers

i.e. drink boxes, juice, milk, cream, rice and soy drink cartons

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Bag-in-a-Box & Juice Pouches

i.e. wine, juice

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Glass Bottles

i.e. coloured & clear wine, juice and beer containers

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Other Metal Cans

i.e. metal containers other than aluminum ranging from small single serve tins to large tomato and apple juice cans.

*PLEASE NOTE: Food containers and plastic & paper cups that are not sealed by a manufacturer are NOT part of the Alberta collection system regulations and are NOT eligible for refund. Any containers from outside Alberta are NOT eligible for refund.

Milk and Liquid Cream Containers are now part of the deposit refund system.

Milk DepositALL milk and liquid cream containers sold in Alberta now require a deposit of 10 cents (1 litre or less) or 25 cents (over 1 litre). Deposits will be refunded at any Alberta bottle depot, but only on marked containers purchased after June 1, 2009.

Old, unmarked milk and cream containers purchased before June 1, 2009 can be recycled through your municipal recycling program.

Tips for Happy Returns


Give Containers a Quick Rinse

For public health and sanitation reasons, please give containers (especially milk containers) a rinse with cold water.




Leave Tabs On




Leave Labels on & Do Not Crush!

Please leave all containers intact except for milk cartons and jugs which should be flattened on sides.



Avoid the Busy Times

Please note that Saturdays are the busiest times at Bottle Depots.


Confirm Hours of Operation at Your Local Bottle Depot

What Happens to Recycled Containers?

Recycling containers save energy, reduces landfill space, helps combat global warming and more. Below are just some of the commercially useful products that come from Alberta's recycled beverage containers.

Aluminum Cans

Aluminum is made from bauxite, an ore mined from the earth. It doesn't decompose or break down! When recycled, aluminum is melted down and reshaped into new cans. In 2008, over 11,000 tonnes of material was diverted from Alberta landfills (95-99% of weight shipped is recycled with the remaining being moisture and contaminants).

Plastic Containers

Most plastic containers are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high density polyethylene (HDPE), both of which are petroleum based non-renewable resources. Shredded containers are sold to plastic recyclers who reuse the plastic to manufacture non-food containers. In some cases, the plastic is turned into a fibre used to make items like fleece jackets and vests. Over 80% of the materials in PET, HDPE, and LDPE are recycled, resulting in diversion of over 11,000 tonnes in 2008.

Glass Containers

Clear glass containers are separated and crushed to form tiny spheres used in the production of road marking paint. Coloured glass is used to make fibreglass insulation for homes. 95% of non-refillable glass is recycled (over 58,000 tonnes in 2008).

Refillable Glass Beer Containers

Refillable glass containers are returned to the manufacturer for refilling on average 14 times. Containers that are chipped, damaged or deemed no longer suitable for reuse, as well as bottle line contamination, are culled out, crushed and recycled. Recycling and reuse of glass beer containers resulted in almost 45,000 tonnes being diverted in 2008.

Polycoat, Juice, and Milk Cartons

Drink boxes (known as "aseptic" containers) and gable top juice & milk cartons (referred together as "polycoat") are made of up to three material types: paper, an aluminum lining, and a plastic coating. Containers go through a hydra-pulping process that separates the different material types. The resulting paper pulp is then used to make the cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes and colors. 80% of material by weight is recycled resulting in 2,300 tonnes being diverted in 2008. Waste cardboard boxes and bag-in-a-box containers are baled and sold to paper recyclers for the manufacturing of pulp suitable for tough objects like cardboard boxes and tubes.

Bi-Metal Containers

Beverage container metal tins and cans are baled and then melted down to be turned into scrap metal, which can then be used as construction re-bar. 95% of weight is recycled in almost 320 tonnes being diverted in 2008.

Plus I - Sort List

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Plus II - Sort List

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Thanks for making a difference!