Making Cents of the New Deposit Rules: A Short Guide

In the News

Quebec is expanding the use of deposits on cans and bottles to encourage recycling. New measures came into effect last November, and more will be added next year. Here’s a short guide to what cans (and bottles) can and can’t be brought back to the store.

Since November 1, 2023, the deposit on most bottles is 10 cents, even for beer cans of more than 450 ml — for which the deposit was previously 20 cents. The objective was to make deposits more uniform.

However, there are still some exceptions. For example, the deposit on certain glass bottles between 500 ml and 2 litres is now 25 cents.

Deposits now apply to more types of containers

Aside from greater uniformity in the deposit amount, all aluminum cans of 100 ml to 2 litres for drinks are now subject to deposits. This includes, for example, aluminum cans of green tea, carbonated or flavoured water, and vegetable juices.

The next phase

It’s still not possible to return plastic or glass water bottles to a store. But these will be covered in the next phase of the expansion of deposits, scheduled for March 1, 2025. On that date, plastic, glass, multi-layer, or carton format containers of 100 ml to 2 litres will also become subject to deposits. This means, for example, that deposits will apply to bottles of wine and spirits, as well as water bottles.

However, some containers will remain excluded:

  • Bag-type containers, for example, milk bags
  • Bag-in-box containers, for example, wine boxes
  • Unsealed containers used to serve drinks at the point of sale, for example, cups for coffee or soft drinks.

According to the website of RECYC-QUÉBEC (French only), more than a billion bottles of water are sold in Quebec each year. Of these, more than 700 million are thrown out with the trash, or simply left outdoors as litter, rather than being recycled.

New rules still unclear?

According to a recent report in La Presse, not everyone is clear about the new rules. Some brands or types of containers are still being refused by merchants, particularly because they do not sell those products. However, according to the applicable regulation, all containers subject to deposit must be accepted free of charge.

If you’ve faced an improper refusal, you can inform the Quebec Beverage Container Recycling Association about the problem at 1-877-CANETTE or by email at