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Burnaby Return-It depot streamlines sorting rules

Return-It has unveiled some innovations to modernize one of its Burnaby beverage container recycling outlets.
coffee cup recycling
Photo courtesy Return-It

Return-It has unveiled some innovations to modernize one of its Burnaby beverage container recycling outlets.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Return-It has been adapting and evolving its system by reducing touch points while improving convenience. The province-wide, not-for-profit product stewardship organization is also using new transportation technologies to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with recycling. 

The enhancements began Monday with the launch of a six-month pilot program at the Brentwood Return-It depot at 3931 Gravely St. that aims to enable consumers to return both alcohol and non-alcohol aluminum beverage containers together for recycling – without having to sort – as one stream with one deposit amount.

The series of other initiatives being rolled out this year to modernize the beverage container recycling system for a greener future include:

  • Expanding the number of Return-It Express Plus and solar-powered Express & GO contactless return stations around the province, including Vancouver Island, with new stations located in partnership with major retailers and shopping centres
  • Implementing a 10-cent unified deposit for all beverage containers – starting this fall – to simplify the overall system and make it even easier for consumers to recycle all their beverage containers – regardless of the size
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the implementation of a hybrid compaction truck that will reduce the number of vehicles used to transport containers for processing
  • Partnering with the Salvation Army to expand Return-It’s popular textiles collection program to safely drop off used clothing for recycling
  • Introducing new automated sorting technologies and reverse-vending machines inside select Return-It depots to limit touch points in order to improve safety for depot employees and support the recycling experience

These and other initiatives are included in Return-It’s new Stewardship Plan which is up for consultation, and British Columbians are invited to share their feedback at

In response to growing demand, this modernization program builds on the success of Return-It Express – a convenient, contactless and easy recycling experience that takes less than a minute. With refunds uploaded directly to a user’s online account, and redeemed via e-Transfer, Express doesn’t require any sorting or cash handling.

Return-It recycles over 1 billion beverage containers a year. Plus, every plastic container is responsibly recycled right here in B.C. and Alberta, where they’re cleaned and broken down into plastic pellets that can be used to make new plastic bottles.