What is it?
Beverage containers are made of a variety of materials - aluminum, tin, steel, plastic, glass, paper, and their combinations. Saskatchewan consumers use over 490,000,000 beverage containers annually. These containers carry a deposit of 5-40 cents which is refunded when the container is returned to a SARCAN Recycling depot.
What is the issue?
Containers from beverages not consumed at home have the potential to become litter. The SARCAN Recycling program began originally as a litter prevention measure and it has been successful in that regard. The program also demonstrates the resources that are saved by recycling.
Where does it go?
The provincial government contracts with SARCAN Recycling to deliver the beverage container recycling program. SARCAN, a division of the Saskatchewan Association for Rehabilitation Centers, operates 73 depots in 67 communities throughout the province. Since the program began in 1988, SARCAN has recycled over six billion containers. The program boasts return rates of more than 86 percent. Check out our Waste Reduction Hub to find a drop-off location near you.
What happens after?
The recycling process works a little differently depending on the type of material you’re recycling.
Plastic bottles: Plastic bottles are made into plastic flake or plastic fluff. From this point, they’re recycled into products like polyester carpeting, and fiber fill in winter jackets or sleeping bags. A small fraction of recycled plastic can be included in new plastic bottles.
Aseptic (e.g., Tetra Pak) containers: These are recycled through a process called hydra pulping. This process separates the layers of paper, plastic and aluminum. The different materials are then recycled separately and turned into new products.
Aluminum cans: The cans are melted down and made into new aluminum cans. This process uses about 95 percent less energy than producing a can from new materials.
Tin / steel cans: These products are melted down and made into products like rebar and car parts.
Glass containers: The glass is crushed and the clear glass is shipped to Potter’s Industries in Moose Jaw, which melts it into beads that can be used for a variety of things depending on their size. Coloured glass is used to make fiberglass insulation.
How can I reduce?
Bring your own reusable bottle with you to avoid buying drinks on-the-go.
- Don't drink bottled water at home. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, try a filter. (Just remember to recycle your filter at the end of its life.)
- For beer drinkers – consider beer on tap or look for microbrewers with a "growler" exchange or refill system.