Circular Economy Month Champion: Beer Store Profile

The Beer Store logo


The growth and transformation of Waste Reduction Week to Circular Economy Month wouldn’t be possible without the support of our program partners over the past twenty years. For 2023, we are pleased to welcome The Beer Store back as a Founding Partner of Canada’s Circular Economy Month campaign.

Circular Commitments and Achievements:

The Beer Store (“TBS”) has been operating since 1927 as a brewer co-operative, warehousing and distributing beer and malt-based beverages on behalf of brewers and listing their brands in the 400+ TBS retail stores across Ontario.  Additionally, TBS acts as the steward for the containers and packaging sold within their system, ensuring all material returned is re-used or recycled through high-value streams.  A deposit applied to the sale of these containers has helped to ensure high recovery rates.  In their 95-year history, TBS has collected approximately 170 billion containers to be re-used or recycled. 

In 2007, TBS began a contract with the Province of Ontario to facilitate the Ontario Deposit Return Program (“ODRP”).  The ODRP requires all beverage alcohol containers that are not part of TBS’ return system to be sold with a deposit that is fully refundable when the container is returned through TBS’ return network.  TBS also accepts any packaging associated with the sale of these containers.  Under this program, TBS commits to ensuring all ODRP containers and material returned are recycled through high-value streams.

TBS’ circular system collects, reuses, and recycles more than 1.7 billion containers every year! Additional achievements include:

  • Through TBS’ circular re-use program, beer bottles can be reused on average 15 times before they are recycled into new bottles.  Almost all these bottles are returned to TBS; in 2022 the recovery rate of refillable bottles was 96%.
  • Over 200,000 metric tonnes of material is collected annually to be re-used or recycled. 
  • Through the deposit return and reverse logistics model Ontarians avoid over 200,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
  • TBS retail stores and distribution centres support numerous fundraising campaigns to raise donations for charities that provide invaluable support and resources to local Ontario communities.  Since 2001 TBS and the UFCW Local 12R24 have partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada to help raise funds for those affected by blood cancers. Since then, over $21 million has been raised!
  • A LEED-certified Bolton Distribution Centre facility allows for optimized management of materials returned for recycling.
  • TBS partners with Lexmark to recycle used toners and replant trees equivalent to their paper consumption. Since their partnership began in 2019, 6,593 trees have been planted, largely within Canada.

In June 2022 TBS began a partnership with Nespresso to pilot coffee pod recycling collection.  Aluminum Nespresso coffee pods can be brought to select TBS retail locations across the Greater Toronto Area.  TBS consolidates the collected pods which are then delivered to a recycling facility in Guelph that separates the aluminum and coffee grinds.  The aluminum is recycled into new products and the coffee grounds are used to make a nutrient-rich compost.

The Beer Store Logo
BC Brewers’ Recycled Container Collection Council (BRCCC)  logo

The Beer Store and Waste Reduction Week on CTV News

During Waste Reduction Week 2019, Circular Innovation Council and The Beer Store visited a bottling facility to highlight and demonstrate the benefits of the circular economy as part of a Waste Reduction Week in Canada segment on CTV News.

BC Brewers’ Recycled Container Collection Council (BRCCC)

BRCCC is the stewardship agency appointed by producers to manage the collection of aluminum alcoholic cans, refillable bottles and associated packaging.

Circular Commitments and Achievements

  • BRCCC consistently has one of the highest container recovery rates in the province, achieving 90%+ for over a decade. Achieving high recovery rates and ensuring excellent environmental performance means more materials are diverted from our landfills, oceans and waterways.
  • For over 90 years – long before any regulatory requirements – the Beer Industry has managed a deposit return system and remains the only system in the Province that refills glass bottles. The refillable beer bottle continues to be a gold standard of sustainable packaging and an exemplary model of a circular economy.
  • BRCCC’s collection system utilizes the brewers’ distribution and retail networks, which maximizes efficiencies through return empty container trips coordinated with full goods deliveries thereby significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions!
  • BRCCC has also long-practiced crushing cans before shipping to optimize transportation routes and reduce the need for trucks on the road.