Debate: B.C.’s new milk deposit is inconvenient

All milk and plant-based milk containers will cost 10 cents more at checkout


A trip to the bottle depot just got more tedious. 

British Columbia’s bottle deposit program now includes milk and milk-substitute containers like oat, soy, and almond. The 10 cent deposit on these beverage containers is part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan to reduce waste. 

All eligible containers will have to be brought back to a depot if consumers want their money back. But that’s another item that everybody will have to add to their pile of bottles at home. 

With rising food costs, it’s frustrating to think that milk will cost 10 cents more with the deposit. We will get a refund if we return any containers, but by the time we get the money back, it won’t make a difference. It’s likely that many people will think of it as another unnecessary fee we’ll have to pay at the store. 

It’s good that B.C. has implanted this deposit to reduce waste in the landfills, but it’s not convenient for a number of reasons.  

This may not bother everyone, but if milk containers aren’t rinsed out after they’re empty, they smell. And if you buy the big four-litre jugs, they’re chunkier than pop cans and bottles. If we pile them up, they’ll take up more space and smell. 

We are already paying a deposit on other soft drinks, including bottled water. At least there wasn’t a deposit for milk. Despite this, there’s probably still so much plastic being thrown out. 

It’s more convenient to throw out our recyclable items in the blue bins outside. We’ll still be able to recycle the milk containers that way, but we’d essentially be paying more for milk. 

On Instagram, I put together a poll to see if consumers would still take their containers in for a refund. According to the poll, 86 per cent of survey respondents said they’d take their containers back to a depot. While 14 per cent said, they wouldn’t go back for a refund. 

Responses to my Twitter poll were divided in half. These polls suggest that we all feel divided about the milk deposit. 

The most frustrating part about this new deposit is that a lot of consumers throw out recyclable items. Not everyone is keen on being environmentally friendly. Some individuals don’t even care to get a refund. 

Deposits like these are a bit contradictory. The plastic containers are still being produced. If food products still use plastic packaging, it’s not really helping the environment in the long run. Consumers will still be able to throw a lot out. 

The B.C. provincial government recently got rid of single-use plastic bags and containers in stores and restaurants. Instead, customers pay 25 cents for each paper bag they ask for. The plastic bags are gone, but how will paper bags reduce waste? 

It is not guaranteed that all of those bags will end up being recycled after being used. They’ll probably be thrown out like the milk containers.