01/16/2013 10:50 EST | Updated 03/18/2013 05:12 EDT

U.S. cans, bottles can't be returned for cash in B.C.

Cross-border shoppers are being warned not to try returning American bottles and pop cans for cash at B.C. depots.

Malcolm Harvey with Encorp Pacific — the non-profit tasked with recycling pop cans, beer bottles and juice boxes — says any depot will recycle containers from south of the border, but won’t hand out a deposit refund.

"Containers, pop cans and the like that are purchased outside of British Columbia have not been part of the deposit system in B.C.,” he said.

“When people have purchased them they have not paid a deposit, so when they return them, they do not get a deposit back."

Harvey says depots in communities that straddle the U.S. border — like Surrey, Delta and White Rock — can feel the impact.

"It’s not a revenue stream for the depot … so they'd prefer not to deal with them at all,” he said. “They themselves are trying to get people to pull those containers out before they bring them in.”

Harvey notes American containers are easy to spot — aside from the missing French labeling, they are often shaped slightly differently.