Liquor Distribution Branch diverts thousands of tonnes from landfills


VANCOUVER — Over the past year, BC Liquor Stores customers have returned approximately 94 million beverage containers to their local liquor store—enough to fill more than 22 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

It's just one of many "green" success stories the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is celebrating in anticipation of Earth Day on April 22.

The LDB first became a green leader more than four decades ago when it started its beverage alcohol container return program in 1971. At the time, the minimum refund on beer containers was two cents, compared with today's minimum refund of 10 cents. The containers themselves are now recycled into products as diverse as fibreglass insulation, park benches and sand for golf-course sand traps.

Other ways the LDB takes care of the planet include:

  • In 2015, the LDB recycled 2,543 tonnes of cardboard, plastic and mixed paper. That's equivalent to the weight of 13 blue whales!
  • In 2015, the LDB discontinued the publication of its BC Liquor Store Product Guide and Store Location Guide, which saved over six tonnes of paper—the weight of an African elephant.
  • In 2015, BC Liquor Stores redesigned its plastic bags to save over 21,000 kg of plastic per year—equivalent to the weight of 80 adult grizzly bears.
  • At the LDB's Head Office and Vancouver Distribution Centre, 85% of materials were diverted from landfills in 2015, thanks to the installation of four-stream recycling stations in the office and improvements to recycling in the distribution centre. That's a six per cent increase over the previous year, when the stations were first installed.
  • Since 2010, the LDB has invested in 18,621 tonnes of B.C. carbon offsets—equivalent to taking nearly 4,000 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.
  • Since 2009, the LDB's energy-saving projects have saved enough energy to power 327 B.C. homes per year.


R. Blain Lawson, general manager and CEO, BC Liquor Distribution Branch —
"As one of B.C.'s largest retailers, it is our duty and privilege to have a positive impact on the environment. We remain committed to reducing the impact of our operations by lowering our greenhouse gas emissions, diverting more materials away from landfills, and minimizing the amount of printing and packaging we provide to our customers."


Quick Facts:

  • All new and remodelled BC Liquor Stores use light fixtures with highly efficient LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, paints that are non-toxic, and finishes that have low chemical emissions and contain recycled content and bio-based materials.
  • The LDB has been carbon neutral since 2010.
  • Celebrated every year on April 22, Earth Day is the largest environmental event in the world.

Learn More:
The LDB's Carbon Neutral Action Reports can be found at:

The 2016 report will be released in June.


Media Contact:

BC Liquor Distribution Branch Communications

604 252-3029