Celebrating Ontario’s Environmental Leadership
The Beer Store, a global environmental leader, is at work in communities across the province, serving Ontarians and the environment. The TBS deposit return system has been delivering environmental benefits to the province of Ontario for so long that it’s easy to take for granted, when it shouldn’t be. At some point over the year, most Ontarians contribute to this globally recognized packaging management system. The result has been a taxpayer savings of $40 million.
The Beer Store has been collecting empty beer containers since it opened in 1927, the same year Prohibition ended in Ontario. The return program, currently in its ninth decade of operation, has collected more than 75 billion beer containers to date. Stacked end-to-end, these containers would reach the moon and back more than 20 times. Despite high consumer levels of awareness and satisfaction regarding the deposit refund system, the environmental benefits are often less celebrated.
“Thanks to the involvement of Ontario consumers, the Beer Store and the brewers who use our system are able to reuse or recycle an average of 4,000 containers every minute of every day, every year,” noted Ted Moroz, the Beer Store President. “It’s a system that works to ensure our industry’s packaging is diverted from landfills and from being a burden on the Ontario taxpayer. It’s an environmental commitment unmatched by other retailers, in Ontario or elsewhere.
In January, The Beer Store released Serving Ontarians and the Environment: Responsible Stewardship 2012-2013, its annual packaging stewardship report for primary and secondary alcohol packaging, which includes details on the Beer Store’s deposit return system for beer containers and the Ontario Deposit Return Program (ODRP) for wine, spirit and cooler containers. This year’s stewardship report is full of information about the taxpayer and environmental benefits of the Beer Store’s world-class system.
For the 52-week period ending April 28, 2013, the following environmental landmarks were achieved:
- 2.02 billion beverage alcohol containers collected – equivalent to over 90% of all beverage alcohol containers sold in Ontario;
- 1.72 billion beer containers collected – representing a 92.3% overall return rate for all glass and PET bottles, metal cans and kegs sold in Ontario;
- 98.2% of all refillable glass beer bottles were returned – these bottles are used an average of 15 times before being recycled into new glass bottles – enabling brewers to sell over 1.05 billion beer servings in Ontario in 2012-13 while only purchasing 96 million bottles;
- 80% of wine, spirit and cooler containers (ODRP containers) were recovered – approximately 1.8 billion containers have been collected since the program began in 2007;
- An impressive 89% of large ODRP glass containers (over 630mL) were recovered – over 50% of all ODRP containers sold were of this variety; and
- Recovery of more paper and plastic packaging than the industry generated – making the Beer Store’s program net positive for the Blue Box and Ontario landfills
Combined, the Beer Store’s beer container recovery program and the ODRP successfully:
- Diverted over 447,000 tonnes of beverage alcohol packaging from Ontario landfills – equivalent to almost 50% of all materials collected through the Blue Box program;
- Saved 2.8 million gigajoules of energy – equivalent to over 460,000 barrels of oil worth $49 million; and
- Avoided approximately 200,500 tonnes of GHG emissions – equivalent to taking about 41,700 cars off the road for a year.