The British Columbia beverage industry is the target of a class action lawsuit brought against it by the Consumers Association of Canada, according to newspaper the Globe & Mail.

Along with retailers and Encorp Pacific, the not-for-profit operator of the province's bottle-recycling operation, the beverage industry is being targeted for allegedly using illegal bottle deposits.

The Globe & Mail quoted Cunsumer Association president Bruce Cran saying: "The B.C. beverage container regulation is very clear: deposits collected from consumers can only be used for one purpose — paying refunds to consumers when containers are returned.

"Since 1998 the industry has collected and used over C$70m in consumer deposits for purposes that are not authorised under the regulation."