Here are 3 items we bet you didn’t know are refundable and recyclable

Jul 25 2022, 4:00 pm

None of us are strangers to the importance of recycling, but there are times when people still don’t recycle all of their items properly. This got us wondering why.

The answer was simple — sometimes we just don’t know what can or can’t be recycled, causing a confused frenzy of “where does this item go?” that can lead to a panic and a toss into the garbage. Let’s face it, Recyclops would not be too happy with us (any other Office fans out there?).

That’s why making any extra effort — like taking a couple of minutes to inform yourself on what beverage containers are part of the deposit system and utilizing convenient services — goes such a long way.

So, to help you and our planet, we’ve rounded up three surprising items that are part of the deposit system and get recycled when returned — from bag-in-a-box beverage containers to those juice pouches we got in our lunch boxes as kids — by visiting your nearest Return-It Express. At these locations, there’s no sorting or counting required, and deposit refunds can be redeemed through cheque or Interac e-Transfer in less than 10 days after dropping off your containers. Now that’s the way to recycle.

Bag-in-a-box containers

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Yes, that’s right — these handy beverage containers can be returned for the deposit refund and recycled. And according to a research study conducted by Return-It, only 64% of Canadians who purchase these kinds of beverage containers are aware of this.

After consuming the beverages within bag-in-a-box containers, people often separate the plastic from the cardboard box and then discard the plastic bag and recycle the cardboard box. However, you don’t need to go through all this trouble. To return a bag-in-a-box container, all you have to do is bring back the container as is, (meaning leave the bag in the box without flattening or crushing it), with the rest of your beverage containers to any Return-It Express or to an Express & GO location near you.

Drink pouches & boxes

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Fun fact — drink pouches are mainly bought by families with small children and only 53% of the people who buy them know that they’re recyclable. But once you’re done with drink pouches, bring them by a Return-It site so they can fulfill their second-life duties to be made into composite decking, buckets, storage totes, and non-food-grade containers and trays. Who knew?


Drink boxes on the other hand are identified by their aluminum-coated interior and are laminated together with paper, plastic, and aluminum liners. Around 50 million of these containers are returned for recycling, and once returned, are hydra-pulped to separate the paper, plastic, and foil. Surprisingly, only 64% of Canadians know these containers are indeed part of the deposit system and recyclable.

Milk- and plant-based beverage containers


Good news for all of you who just can’t get enough of oat milk (we’re right there with you), milk-, and plant-based beverages are part of the deposit system. Just remember to rinse out these containers well before returning them to avoid mould and a smell, and to leave the caps and labels on. Then, take them to your nearest Return-It site, along with the rest of your empty beverage containers.

Keen to help the planet and make some change off your ready-to-drink beverage containers?  Then it’s time you visit your nearest Return-It Express location to recycle your beverage containers like drink pouches, drink boxes, plant- and milk-based containers, and bag-in-a-box containers.

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