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Recycling centre for speedy bottle drops in Quesnel

Sea-can to drop off recyclable bottles and cans
Quesnel is one of only 14 communities in B.C. - only two in the north - to have an Express & Go recycling station for swift drop-off of empties. (Photo courtesy Return-It)

It used to be a sea-can, now it is the epitome of recycling. A repurposed shipping container is now a structure that helps extend the life of waste items in Quesnel.

The Extra Foods parking lot at 2335 Maple Drive is where you’ll find the Return-It Express & Go station, one of 14 such high-speed drop-off sites across B.C. provided by the Return-It organization that also provides the bottle depot downtown. They are a subsidiary of Encorp Pacific, a federal not-for-profit agency.

The only other Express & Go location in northern B.C. is in McBride.

Express & Go stations revolutionize the recycling experience by allowing people to drop off their unsorted, pre-bagged beverage containers and receive deposit refunds via Interac e-transfer or cheque. Drop-offs must be made in a sealed and clear bag of up to 90 litres in size.

“Return-It exists to foster a world where nothing is waste. I hope that we can inspire others to support our social purpose by bringing new and convenient recycling solutions to northern B.C.,” said Cindy Coutts, president and CEO of Return-It. “We are delighted (to have an) Express & Go station in Quesnel, which makes it even easier to support a commitment toward a true circular economy.”

This drop-off point also acts as a bottle drive portal for worthy local causes. When you take recycled containers in for deposit, you have the option to instantly donate the refunds to a charitable organization of your choice, from the list at the site. A wide range of organizations have signed up to be on the donation menu. Once a fundraising organization has created its free online Express account, users can donate their deposit funds to that charity.

For more information on how charitable organizations can create an account and fundraise using this instant donation system, visit the Return-It web page located online at

Individuals can also sign up for an Express & Go account, so the drop-off process is ultra quick and convenient. When you get to the little building, you can print your bag label using the phone number associated with your account. Stick the label on the bag, open the drop-off door (there are instructions located there), drop, and go. That’s it.

“We’ll do the sorting, so there’s no need to wait in line to have your containers counted. Your deposit refund will be automatically sent in 10 business days to your online Express account,” said Coutts. “The Express & Go model supports a growing need for innovative recycling infrastructure…The station includes a printer, where individuals dropping off bags can print their labels, tag their bags, and complete the entire drop-off process in mere minutes.”

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