MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - More Ontario consumers are returning their empty beer, liquor and wine bottles for recycling, according the latest figures from The Beer Store.

It says for the year ending April 30th, 1.86 billion of the 1.97 billion beer containers sold in the province were returned.

That represents a 94 per cent return rate -- a one percentage point increase over the previous year's rate of return.

The Beer Store says the figure includes a 99 per cent return rate for refillable beer bottles, which it says it the highest return rate of any packaging in the world.

Return rate were also higher for other containers, to 79 per cent for aluminum cans, 89 per cent for non-refillable glass bottles and 73 per cent for wine and spirit containers.

Beer Store president Ted Moroz says the return system is a "perfect example of a cradle-to-cradle environmental management system."