Many Manitobans want to know why they don’t receive cash when they return their pop containers for recycling. The answer is because they didn’t pay a deposit when the container was purchased.
Some provinces, like Saskatchewan, charge a deposit when consumers buy a beverage such as a can or bottle of pop.
Why doesn’t Manitoba collect a deposit? Because it is more expensive.
For example, when you buy a bottle of pop in Saskatchewan you are charged a 10 cent deposit and a 6 cent recycling levy. The deposit is higher for larger containers like 2-litre bottles.
If the can or bottle is returned to a SARCAN depot in Saskatchewan, the 10 cent deposit is returned. The 6 cents is not returned and is used to run the deposit program.
In Manitoba, a 2 cent enviro levy is charged for non-alcoholic beverage containers to support community recycling of the containers. (Beer containers can be returned to vendors for a deposit.)
Compared to Manitoba, the deposit system in Saskatchewan costs the consumer 4 cents more if the container is returned for deposit. If the consumer doesn’t return the container to be recycled, they paid 14 cents more than in Manitoba.
Which system is better? It is difficult to say. Recycling rates for beverage containers are somewhat higher in Saskatchewan but Manitoba’s system is less expensive for people buying beverages.
Some people take beverage containers bought in Manitoba to SARCAN depots in Saskatchewan.
This cheats the recycling programs in both provinces. SARCAN pays a deposit it did not receive when the beverage container was purchased. It lowers recycling volumes in Manitoba community programs and reduces their recycling subsidy.
And it is illegal.