Bottled water company Canadian Springs will start charging a 25 cent deposit on 16 ounce (500 ml) bottles in January 2009. While the deposit will be standard for commercial and residential customers that buy from Canadian Springs, the company said it will work with retailers that want to participate in the program.

Canadian Springs is hoping its success with a deposit program for its refillable, 4.7 gallon (18 liter) bottles will carry over to its smaller products. The company boasts a 99 percent return rate on its larger bottles, which it charges a $10 deposit on.

"The bottled water providers need to create a reasonable financial incentive to encourage consumers to dispose of their bottles properly and sensibly," said Richard Stephens, Canadian Springs' president. "In jurisdictions that have introduced such a system, the litter problem has been virtually eliminated."

Deposit programs are just one of the schemes being used to deal with the billions of plastic bottles being produced every year. While most efforts have focused on expanding residential recycling capabilities or encouraging reduced use of plastic bottles, Canadian Springs is taking a different step along the line of extended producer responsibility. The company is trying to get the customers it works directly with to give back the bottles instead of directing them to dispose them though a general recycling program.