"A 25 Cent Solution to 500ml Water Bottle Waste" - Canadian Springs Leads Industry and Pushes Government Toward Deposit Program for Single Use Water Bottles



    TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - Canadian Springs, Canada's leading supplier of
large format bottled water products, announced today that it will voluntarily
move to introduce a bottle deposit program for its small format bottled water
products. Effective January 1, 2009, all 500 ml single use water bottles will
be offered for sale with a fully refundable $0.25 bottle deposit or $6.00 per
case of 24 bottles. Canadian Springs will collect and refund the deposits on
all empty bottles sold to its commercial and residential customers and will
work with its retail clients who wish to participate in the program. This
voluntary move complements Canadian Springs' company-wide actions to protect
the environment, ranging from responsible packaging to protection of its
source waters.
    "We are trying to lead the bottled water industry to be truly responsible
and push the Ontario government to take action," said Richard Stephens,
Canadian Springs' President. "This 500ml deposit program is a model for
environmentally responsible packaging management that will result in the
return of almost all Canadian Springs 500ml bottles." The company speaks from
direct experience having successfully operated a deposit return system serving
hundreds of thousands of its 18 litre bottle customers for many years, with
over 99% of the 16 million bottles sold annually returned. This excellent
track record combined with the company's extensive review of all other
environmental options and acknowledgement of the ongoing problems created by
single use, single serve packaging has brought the company to move
aggressively and independently towards introducing this industry leading
program.
    There has been considerable debate within the industry as to how to best
manage the waste issue but it is clear that the most effective option is a
deposit return system. One only has to look at the overwhelming success of the
deposit return system used in the beer industry to see the merits of such a
program for single serve bottles.
    "Quite frankly I have grown very tired of hearing of global corporate
"green washing" recycling projects that have diversified beverage companies
position themselves as responding to the water bottles that litter our public
spaces, our parks, our beaches, even our sidewalks," says Stephens. "The
bottled water providers need to create a reasonable financial incentive to
encourage consumers to dispose of their bottles properly and sensibly. In
jurisdictions that have introduced such a system, the litter problem has been
virtually eliminated."
    Stephens expressed his frustration with the provincial government's
general inaction on this matter. "We have been working with the Ontario
government for almost two years to encourage appropriate legislation to deal
with the problems being created by the single use 15 litre water cooler
bottles that have recently been introduced to the market place." These bottles
are so large that municipalities have called for their outright ban as they
cannot be processed through their recycling facilities. Despite numerous
requests from various municipalities and with the support of most industry
players, the Ontario Government has failed to act. The Quebec government has
been much more responsive on this matter having passed legislation in 2007 to
ban these types of bottles.
    This inaction is particularly puzzling and frustrating in light of the
fact the previous Minister of the Environment, Laurel Broten, had issued a
demand letter asking the industry to voluntarily discontinue the sale of the
non returnable, non reuseable 15 litre bottles or else face a strong response
from government. Despite assurances from the current Minister's office, the
MOE has failed to take any initiative on this matter. "This is a case where
industry can voluntarily decide to do the right thing and we hope that the MOE
will choose to follow the lead of Canadian Springs on this environmental
initiative," says Stephens.
    Canadian Springs believes the 25 cents per bottle deposit is set at the
right price point ensuring the deposit is valuable but not prohibitive. "The
fully refunded deposit has not been an issue for our 18 litre bottle customers
as it ensures the bottles' return and hence, environmental protection. We
think the 25 cent deposit will be accepted by single serve bottle customers.
This is the responsible thing for us to implement and we expect a positive
response from today's environmentally conscious customers."
    "This program will allow us to almost fully ensure the return and
recycling of our water bottles to keep them out of the landfill or from
littering our environment. We have an agreement with Smart Plastic Recycling
who will be managing our returned bottles as a valuable resource to be used in
the manufacture of other plastic products."
    This past summer the company has also launched another major
environmentally oriented initiative with the introduction of its Laurentian
1882 brand of natural spring water. The water is packaged in 750 ml glass
bottles which are both returnable and refillable. The water is produced in
both still and sparkling formats. The name refers to Canada's oldest bottled
water brand, Laurentian, which has been produced and sold in Quebec since
1882. Members of the McCall family who are fifth generation descendants of the
founder are still shareholders of Aquaterra Corporation, the parent company of
Canadian Springs.
    The Laurentian 1882 products which are sourced and bottled in Quebec are
being marketed to compete with the premium priced imported waters such as
Evian, Perrier and San Pellegrino. "It makes absolutely no environmental sense
to purchase water imported from Europe that is packaged in single use, non
returnable bottles when a great tasting, high quality, locally produced
alternative is available in a returnable, refillable bottle. The carbon
footprint on imported waters is ridiculous," says Stephens. Laurentian 1882
will soon be available to commercial and residential customers in Quebec and
is available at finer restaurants.

    Who is Canadian Springs: Canadian Springs is the nation's leading direct
delivery provider of fresh natural spring water. For over 100 years, Canadian
Springs and its affiliates have been refreshing homes and offices across the
country. Canadian Springs is leading the industry with state-of-the-art
facilities, superior quality standards and refreshing new products to meet
business and home customers' hydration needs. With almost 800 employees across
Canada, 42 distribution centres and seven state-of-the-art bottling
facilities, it is committed to providing its customers with the best in
service and quality. Canadian Springs invests in company-wide actions to
protect the environment, from ensuring its packaging is managed responsibly to
industry-leading forestry and source water protection programs around its
natural springs.




For further information:

For further information: Gara Hay, (905) 795-6479 or Mengo McCall, (604)
232-7638

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CANADIAN SPRINGS

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