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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    West Haven, CT
    Posts
    165

    Default Farewell to Refillables on PEI

    I am a little late in reporting this, but May 3, 2008, was the day that the can ban in Prince Edward Island, Canada was lifted. For those of you not familiar, from 1984 PEI mandated that all beer and carbonated soft drinks be sold in refillable bottles. This was done to reduce litter and because it was felt that refilling bottles was more environmentally sound than recycling. A comprehensive deposit system has been put in place to cover all soft drinks.

    Seaman's Beverages, located in Charlottetown, was the last bottler on PEI, bottling their own old-time sodas, and Pepsi, DR Pepper, and Canada Dry products. In 2003, Pepsi acquired the plant. With the lifting of the can ban, the bottling line has been shut down, and the facility is now used as a
    distribution center.

    I managed to visit the Island in April for a last look and to pick up some bottles for the collection. (Apologies in advance for the quality of some of the photos.) I was a bit concerned that it was so close to the May deadline, but on arriving, found glass in ample supply:


    Hard to believe that in less than a month, all this would be gone...some of these Pepsi 750 mL bottles were 30 years old.


    When was the last time you saw refillable glass in a Wal-Mart? No doubt, the stuff of nightmares to both the folks in Bentonville and Atlanta.


    In most of the supermarkets, returns were handled by a reverse vending machine. The bottles were inserted in the machine, scanned, (by profile, not bar code) and placed on a sorting table in the back via a conveyor belt:
    Drink responsibly....drink soda!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    West Haven, CT
    Posts
    165

    Default

    A decal from Coke seen on some vending machines and C-store coolers encouraging consumers to return their bottles; the company spent vastly more energy (and money) trying to overturn the refillables-only rule.


    And of course, the "stuff I took home" photo showing some of the nearly 50 bottles I bought:
    Drink responsibly....drink soda!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Douglas, WY
    Posts
    1,229

    Default

    *sigh*

    I always wanted to make it up there, got as close as Maine a few years ago, but felt I didn't have time to go there and still make it over to Illinois for a family reunion.

    I used to trade bottles by mail with a collector in Canada several years ago. He sent me this Diet Pepsi bottle, its the only swirl bottle I've seen with a large ACL logo on it as well. Were there still any of those kicking around still when you were up there?
    -Andy
    Give me some cane sugar real Pepsi in a glass bottle... and not Throwback!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Hampton Roads, VA
    Posts
    644

    Default

    Thanks for sharing that..pretty sweet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    100

    Default

    I'm actually surprised this is happening due to the costs of materials skyrocketing each month. It seems more cost effective to keep refilling and not using up aluminum which has jumped an incredible amount in the past year or so (as with all raw materials).

    I've been hearing rumors of some companies potentially going back to glass if petroleum costs keep going up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Ok
    Posts
    1,032

    Default

    I have heard rumors of a 16 oz nr replacing 20 oz pet, but it was just a rumor as far as I know. no basis whatsoever, only hearsay.
    If what you did yesterday still looks big, you haven't done much today.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    West Haven, CT
    Posts
    165

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Android View Post
    *sigh*

    I always wanted to make it up there, got as close as Maine a few years ago, but felt I didn't have time to go there and still make it over to Illinois for a family reunion.

    I used to trade bottles by mail with a collector in Canada several years ago. He sent me this Diet Pepsi bottle, its the only swirl bottle I've seen with a large ACL logo on it as well. Were there still any of those kicking around still when you were up there?
    -Andy
    Andy, sorry to hear that you and your Bug didn't make it over the Confederation Bridge . Even from Maine it's a long drive--about 5 hours from the border to the Bridge.

    I've never seen a bottle like the one you show in you picture. If I'd seen one I would have snapped it up. The only ACL Pepsi bottles on PEI I saw on my visits were the ancient 300 and 750-mL ones. All the Diet Pepsi was paper label only. I think this may have to do with the ingredients (sweeteners) changing over time where the info on any ACL bottles would have become obsolete.
    Drink responsibly....drink soda!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Posts
    312

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by skylark68 View Post
    I'm actually surprised this is happening due to the costs of materials skyrocketing each month. It seems more cost effective to keep refilling and not using up aluminum which has jumped an incredible amount in the past year or so (as with all raw materials).
    Not really. You have to understand how refillables work. In the old days, every town had a bottling plant, because they had to transport the empties back. So they had a multi-step process. The route driver had to deliver the product and retreve the empties, which had to be accounted for. Then drive the empties back to the plant, where they had to be cleaned, and then refilled. Small scale manufacturing because the cost of transporting empties is great, so they had to have 1000s of plants.

    The modern process the route driver just drops the product off and moves on. He can get a lot more work done in a day. And, most importantly, bottling can be consolidated into a large scale central facility serving an entire region.

    When the Confederation Bridge was completed, connecting PEI to the rest of North America, the unique insular condition that made a refilable market work there ended, and that was that.

    And, of course, plastic and metal weigh less than glass, cutting fuel costs, and are safer, which is why even glass non-returnable are contraindicated.

  9. #9

    Default

    That diet pepsi was nasty and still is when it first came out it had sweet and low in it eww

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Douglas, WY
    Posts
    1,229

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by francoenergy99 View Post
    That diet pepsi was nasty and still is when it first came out it had sweet and low in it eww
    That's a bit off-topic. The point was to ask if any of those bottles were still around PEI at the end. And that particular Canadian 750ml bottle pictured, I need to get another picture next time I'm around my bottle storage, as that's a truly unique design, it has full swirl on one side, and smooth on the other with the large 1986-later Diet Pepsi logo on it.

    And actually, if that statement was meant to imply that that logo being associated with "Sweet-N-Low", then that is incorrect. That pictured logo came out in around 1986. Pepsi had dropped saccharin and switched to 100% Nutrasweet(aspartame) a year or two before then.

    And yeah, before Nutrasweet, sure, diet sodas didn't taste as good, but really what choice did they have? The soda companies did the best they could with the one sweetener the government would let them use back then, saccharin. In the beginning, Diet Pepsi originally had less saccharin in it anyway, blended with cylclamates, which were banned in the USA like 1969. I've always wondered what that original forumlation of Diet Pepsi tasted like. Here's a US 1964 bottle I have:

    Give me some cane sugar real Pepsi in a glass bottle... and not Throwback!

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