The results are in, and we have a winner: small appliances is our number one, most requested, recycling category. This isn’t a big surprise to us. There is a provincial program for recycling electronics, but small appliances are not included. SARCAN is the main collection point for that program, and also the number one organization that refers people to us. The usual scenario goes something like this: “I just tried to take my broken toaster to SARCAN, but they don’t take it. They said to ask you where it should go.” (Right now, the best recycling option we know of is London Drugs, but they only have locations in Saskatoon and Regina.)
The electronics program did expand to include microwaves, photocopiers and gaming systems in 2018, but did not add small appliances, despite consultation feedback that showed clear support for doing so. SWRC has given the Minister of Environment a letter requesting that the program expand to include small appliances, and all products with a plug or battery. We have not yet had a response, but do have plans to continue to advocate for such a program expansion.
The second most common category to be asked about is household hazardous waste (HHW). Landfills are not allowed to accept liquid hazardous waste, and yet there is no program that allows residents to deal with leftover HHW responsibly. Some municipalities accept HHW on a limited basis (often once a year), but this is an expensive option.
SWRC, and many other groups, have advocated for a provincial HHW program for many years and we were pleased that a program was included in the Ministry’s 2018-2019 work plan. We are concerned about its progress as we have heard nothing for some months. We still have our fingers crossed for their March 31 deadline.
Our third most asked about category is plastic – including commercial, household and Styrofoam. Options for recycling plastics tanked in 2018 when China closed its doors to foreign plastics. Plastics have always been difficult to recycle and we are pleased that the federal government is working on an action plan for Zero Plastic Waste.
After we review our data each year, we continue to make improvements to our online database. Recently, we added the ability to search for more specific items. Previously we just had generic categories like “Appliances, Small”, now you can type in exactly what you are looking to recycle, say “toaster” and you will get an answer (previously you would have to decide which category your specific item might fit into – Small appliances, household items etc.)
If you use our database and love it, we encourage you to share it with friends and family. A lot of our website traffic comes through Facebook referrals so that is a great place to share a link to it.