Do you want to become filthy rich WHILE saving the world? HECK YES YOU DO! Well, I’ve got a secret 5-step scheme for you that’s easy to follow and guarantees results. It’s a great plan for those who love booze in particular, and works really well as an incentive for your kids to help clean up! So, whether you’re dangling the promise of allowance, or saving up for that trip to Hawaii, here’s what you’ve got to do:

STEP 1:
Gather all of your beverage containers in one place. This includes ALL beverage containers–alcoholic (a.k.a. “The Money Makers”) or non-alcoholic–that are of glass or plastic make. The one big exception to this is containers that held dairy product in them (e.g., milk containers and Starbucks Bottles Drinks). TIP: make sure that your containers are all clean as some bottle depots will not accept dirty bottles.

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STEP 2:
SORT. Being a waste sorter by trade, this is probably my favourite part of the process, but I know that’s not the case for everyone, so let’s make it easy. Although there is space at the depot to sort on site, I find the ambiance to be a bit unsettling–read: smelly and gross–so I prefer to sort my materials at home. Sort by alcohol/non-alcohol and the item material (i.e., metal, plastic, glass).

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TIPS: Remove straws and lids from containers, but DO NO REMOVE THE LABELS. I did this incorrectly on my plastic bottles, so did not get money for these items. #sadface

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STEP 3:
Lug your haul to the nearest Encorp Return-It Depot–in our case this would be the Lonsdale Depot at 142 3rd Street West. Word to the wise–you can’t access this depot from 3rd street. Enter the alley just east of the depot and approach the building from the backside. There is parking there.

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STEP 4:
Transfer your containers from your bags/boxes in to the blue trays that are provided on site. I like to keep my materials separated by tote, as this makes it easier for the cashier. You can then either move your trays directly to check-out or place them on a trolley–provided on site–as you wait for an opening. Note: there is hand sanitizer available at the depot, but you may want to bring gloves if you have an aversion to stickiness. This depot also takes plastic bags, so feel free to bring those along as well!

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STEP 5:
CASH OUT! Make sure to take your turn in line and be as efficient as possible with the counter space that you have. The more cynical patrons will watch the cashier closely, counting every dime–I choose to trust the guy, who’s speedy, silent, and always hands me a lovely little collection of coins to go home with!

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MY GRAND TOTAL: $3.15!

Remember, I wasn’t actually able to return all of those label-less bottles either–with those I would have made closer to $4! It may not seem like a lot, but I have friends who have collected up to $70 in one go (the key is alcohol), and no matter what, it all adds up over time!

NOTE: Every depot is a private franchise that takes different materials and may provide varying amounts of cash back. Check out Return-It.ca for information about the depot near you.

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