Commitment to Recycling

Recycling Plastic Water Bottles

The State of Recycling in Canada

Today, 97% of Canadian households have access to recycling at home. Almost 72% of plastic beverage containers were recycled in 2014, including water bottles. The recycling rate continues to improve each year as the Canadian beverage industry introduces innovative waste management programs to help consumers recycle, wherever they may be on a given day. Nestlé Waters Canada and its industry partners will continue to introduce innovative, new recycling programs across the country until every bottle we produce is collected. For example, public spaces recycling captures the “last mile” of recyclables – items typically found in curbside and deposit recycling programs that are abandoned by consumers in park spaces and recreational facilities like arenas, street scapes, transit stops, bars and restaurants, elementary and secondary schools, convenience stores and gas stations.

First established by Nestlé Waters Canada, the Canadian beverage industry and the Government of Quebec and launched as a three-year program (now four years) in Quebec in June 2008, this particular public spaces recycling methodology is achieving excellent recovery rates for recyclables, including glass, aluminum, plastic and paper. Through its focus on public education campaigns and citizen participation, the initiative is augmenting existing curbside and deposit programs by increasing recycling rates. Nestlé Waters Canada and the Canadian beverage industry established Canada’s first permanent public spaces program in Manitoba in April 2010. Through this program, Nestlé Waters Canada and its industry partners manage and fund (80%) the province’s curbside recycling program as well as public spaces recycling (100%) and industrial, commercial and institutional recycling (100%), complemented by continuous public education and communications. It is the first program of its kind in the world.


Case Study – Recycling Success in Manitoba

The Canadian province of Manitoba has a product stewardship system already in place. It is known as the "hybrid recycling model" or "Manitoba model." This industry led program is subsidizing municipal curbside recycling programs, supporting public education and awarness building efforts which inform and encourage citizens to recycle. Manitoba intends to divert 75% of its containers from landfills in the next five years. Nestlé Water Canada is a partner in this effort and we're watching closly to learn how this Extended Producer Responsibility model can be applied to promote solutions more broadly in the U.S.

A Potential Solution – Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility is a product stewardship approach that focuses operational responsibility and control for the management of packaging with the industry that produces it. In effect, EPR assigns environmental costs associated with goods throughout their life cycles to the party that produces the product.

This model invests a nominal fee paid by the consumer for covered consumer packaged goods into building best-in-class municipal curbside recycling, public space and commercial recycling, and public education programs—and producers are held accountable for the programs’ effectiveness. Because it spreads the costs across a wider set of materials than only beverage containers, EPR is capabale of getting more packaging back to be used again. And because the fees that are collected stay in the system to help build and grow recycling—they won’t be siphoned off to subsidize other budget items.

We have been strong proponents of a similar approach in Canada where, in 2010, we helped launch a beverage industry product stewardship program in Manitoba. This "hybrid" system features four key elements:

  1. Curbside recycling
  2. Public space recycling
  3. Industrial/commercial/institutional recycling
  4. A strong public education/communications program

The early results of this program are encouraging. We also completed public spaces recycling pilots in the City of Sarnia and Niagara Region in Ontario in 2009 and 2010, in the City of Halifax in 2010, in the City of Richmond in 2011 and in the City of Calgary in 2012. Diversion rates for each of these programs during their pilot phases have averaged higher than 75%. Since becoming permanent programs in Alberta  (through ABCRC), in British Columbia (through Encorp Pacific), Manitoba (through CBCRA) and Quebec (through EEQ), the recycling rates have continued to improve.