SARCAN starts offering recycling services to the public again

SARCAN finally reopened its doors on Monday after closing on March 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people with recyclables have been waiting for this day to come.

Some people were standing in line for hours to get rid of bottles and cans

A recycling worker sorts through bottles and cans at the Saskatoon depot on Broadway Avenue on June 15, 2020. (Don Somers)

SARCAN finally reopened its doors on Monday, and many people with recyclables have been waiting for this day to come.

The depots closed on March 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are now offering relief for many Saskatchewanians who started to run out of space to collect their growing piles of cans and bottles.

Johnathon Chetyrbuk and his friend lined up for the second time on Monday at the SARCAN location on Broadway Avenue, one of four depots in Saskatoon.

"We got here about 7:20-ish," said Chetyrbuk. 

They dropped off the friend's recyclables in the earlier run, Chetyrbuk said, and were returning with his bags now.

"This time we have these six [bags], but we have ten more in the truck that are just sitting there waiting until we get closer to the front of the line." 

Johnathon Chetyrbuk (right) and his friend wait outside SARCAN on Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon on May 15, 2020. (Theresa Kliem)

By 9:30 a.m. CST around 35 people with bags and boxes stood patiently in line to drop off their recyclables. Some of them waited for up to two hours.

Chetyrbuk said he met someone waiting since 4 a.m. to get in — all Saskatoon locations opened at 8 a.m. on Monday. Staff at the Broadway location served 60 people during their first hour of operation.

"I know we have some of the highest recycling rates in Canada," said SARCAN director of collections Sean Collins.

"So we have ... really great recyclers in the province. People have been eager. They've been asking frequently when we are planning to reopen. So we anticipate that we will be busy for the next few weeks."

New safety measures

The recycling program has implemented new procedures to help protect the public and its more than 700 employees from COVID-19 at the 73 depots throughout Saskatchewan.

Like other businesses, only a limited number of customers can enter a location at a time. A recycling guide stands outside to greet people, remind them of physical distancing and help them determine the best option — coming in, using the Drop & Go option or dropping off containers in bulk. 

The recycling guide can also assist people with paint or electronics without customers entering the depot. 

Money for disc golfing

While the line kept growing on Monday morning, Chetyrbuk slowly moved closer to the goal of today's mission — the door to the SARCAN depot.

"I thought with … it all opening up and people being at work it might not be as busy," said Chetyrbuk, who had the day off.

People in line had different plans with the money they hoped to get for their bottles and cans, including groceries and hobbies.

"I just actually recently started up disc golf," said Chetyrbuk.

"I kind of want to buy some discs, so I might start to do that."


Theresa Kliem


Theresa Kliem is a journalist with CBC Saskatoon. She is an immigrant to Canada and loves telling stories about people in Saskatchewan. Email


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