PET is one of the most valuable products in the recycling system. PET water bottles are reusable once recycled. Our members’ single-serve PET water bottles are 100% recyclable and next to newspapers and aluminum, is the third most recycled product in Canada. Our members strongly support recycling programs and encourage consumers to ensure their bottled water packaging is recycled through their local recycling program.
Water bottles are easy to recycle and compatible with curb side, depots, and public spaces recycling systems available across Canada. Since Canada’s recycling programs are more extensive and effective than in the United States, therefore any comparison of recycling rates is not accurate.
The bottled water industry has been successful in making water bottles with less plastic: 9g vs 16 g of PET for other beverage containers. Since the early 2000’s, bottled water containers have been using recycled PET content, as high as 100% of recycled content As part of the circular economy, the industry’s objective is to make water bottles with less plastic and it has been a leader in the development of light-weight bottles.
Polycarbonate plastic bottles are 100% recyclable. The larger bottles, for use with water coolers, are typically reusable 40 to 60 times before the need to be recycled. For more than 30 years, the bottled water industry has had in place its own industry run recycling program to ensure all large polycarbonate water bottles are properly recycled, ensuring they do not go to Canadian landfills. Once recycled, these plastics are used to make everything from playground equipment, cell phones, clothing, carpeting to automobile parts.
Bottlers are blending recycled PET (rPET) with virgin PET to make new bottles. The use of rPET in water bottles can be as much as 100% recycled content. All packaging used by the bottled water industry must be approved by Health Canada under Canada’s the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.
The Canadian bottled water industry aims to have every one of its containers recycled, regardless of where they are consumed. The industry, in partnership with governments, created Public Spaces Recycling to capture the “last mile” of recyclables – items typically captured through curbside recycling programs that are abandoned by consumers in parks, recreational facilities, transit stops, public schools, businesses, institutions and gas stations.
Examples of Public Spaces Recycling include:
Quebec – Canada’s First Public Spaces Recycling Program
• Quebec is achieving recycling diversion rates of up to 97% in its municipal away-from-home recycling programs.
Sarnia – Ontario’s First Public Spaces Recycling Program
• The program diverted up to 84% of beverage containers from the waste stream.
• We are encouraging Ontario to work with the bottled water industry to include public spaces recycling as a permanent complement to the Blue Box program.
Halifax – Canada’s First Public Spaces Recycling Program to Feature Organics Collection
• The program achieved a recovery rate of 95% for beverage containers and 90% for all recyclable containers.
Richmond – B.C.’s First Public Spaces Recycling Program
• The program achieved a 79% reduction rate in plastic beverage containers headed to landfill.
• We are encouraging Encorp Pacific to include Public Spaces Recycling as a permanent component to its deposit program.
Manitoba – North America’s First Permanent Public Spaces Initiative
• When the Manitoba program was unveiled, the province had about 45% diversion rate for beverage containers – the lowest in Canada.
• A pilot public spaces program in Portage La Prairie experienced a 95% diversion rate in parks, arenas and streetscapes.
• The hybrid recycling system, or “Manitoba model,” is being monitored for possible adoption by American and European governments.
The bottled water industry is certainly doing its part to reduce its impact on the environment. The CBWA and its partners have been working with governments to assist in public spaces recycling programs and to increase all consumer packaging recycling in order to decrease landfill waste, as well as all litter. The various provincial authorities the CBWA and its partners do work with to ensure continued increased recycling rates throughout Canada are listed below:
The bottled water industry is certainly doing its part to reduce its impact on the environment. The CBWA and its partners have been working with governments to assist in public spaces recycling programs and to increase all consumer packaging recycling in order to decrease landfill waste, as well as all litter. The various provincial authorities the CBWA and its partners collaborate to ensure continued increased recycling rates throughout Canada are listed below:
Provincial & National Recycling Rates (2010)
All plastic PET beverage containers (under 2 litres)
National – 70%
NS – 81%
QC – >70%
ON – 62%
MB – 45% (+50%) 80%
SK – 84%
AB – 83.5%
BC – 80%
NOTE on MB: A new program was started, and the 45% does not include the (new) public space recycling data (estimated to add 50% to the recovery rate).