Taking Green Retailing to New Heights
The Beer Store celebrates its 85th year of running Canada’s largest beverage container collection system
Some might say The Beer Store’s (TBS) deposit return system is the greatest thing since sliced bread…an appropriate perspective considering TBS has been collecting empties since before there was sliced bread.
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 in their lives, most Ontarians have made a contribution to this globally recognized packaging management system by returning beer, wine or spirit containers to The Beer Store. However, not everyone is aware of the program’s significant environmental impacts. With a view to improving that understanding, TBS today released 85 Years of Environmental Excellence – Responsible Stewardship 2011-2012, its annual packaging stewardship report detailing the packaging diversion performance of TBS’s deposit return system for beer containers and the Ontario Deposit Return Program (ODRP) for wine and spirit containers.
This year’s report is full of facts about the TBS and ODRP programs. For example, in the 85 years it has been collecting empties, TBS has recovered an estimated 75 billion bottles – which, when stacked on top of each other equal about 20 trips to the moon and back! Or that TBS re-uses or recycles an average of 4,000 containers every minute of every day every year. Or that the amount of packaging diverted from Ontario landfills by the TBS and ODRP deposit systems is equivalent to 53% of all materials collected through Ontario’s entire Blue Box program.
In just the past year (the 53-week period ending April 29, 2012), the following environmental landmarks were achieved:
- Over 2.1 billion beverage alcohol containers collected – equivalent to 91 per cent of all beverage
alcohol containers sold in Ontario;
- 1.81 billion beer containers collected (glass and PET bottles, cans and kegs) – a remarkable
94 per cent overall return rate;
- Almost all (99.1%) refillable glass beer bottles returned – these bottles are used an
average of 15 times before being recycled into new glass bottles – enabling brewers to sell
over 1.15 billion bottles of beer in Ontario in 2011-12 while only purchasing about 92 million bottles;
- The ODRP’s recovery rate continued to climb – 81 per cent of all wine and spirit
containers sold were recovered and recycled; and
- Large glass wine and spirit bottles (over 630 mL) had an impressive 90% return rate – these containers represent over half of all ODRP containers sold.
Combined, TBS’ beer container recovery program and the ODRP successfully:
- Diverted over 480,000 tonnes of beverage alcohol packaging from Ontario landfills;
- Saved 2.9 million gigajoules of energy – equivalent to over $46 million of oil;
- Avoided over 205,000 tonnes of GHG emissions – equivalent to taking over 40,210 cars off
the road; and
- Saved Ontario taxpayers $40 million in waste management costs.
“Environmental leadership is one of The Beer Store’s core values; we were green before green was cool,” says Ted Moroz, President of The Beer Store. “We know most Ontarians are faithful participants in our deposit-return program. With this year’s report, we wanted to let Ontarians know more about the program and the significant environmental results The Beer Store has been achieving, with their participation, over these 85 years.”
“The Beer Store’s waste diversion results are outstanding,” said Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley. “Waste diversion is good for our environment and our economy. The Beer Store’s efforts mean more glass is recycled into new products like new bottles and fiberglass insulation rather than taking up valuable landfill space,” he said.
“The Beer Store is extremely proud of these results and we believe Ontarians should be proud of their major contribution to this success,” noted Moroz. “We’re looking forward to even better results in the next 85 years!”