SARCAN hopes Saskatoon glass recycling program will become smashing success

The City of Saskatoon is hoping more people drop their glass jars at SARCAN rather than in blue bins.

City partnering with recycling program to get more glass out of recycling system

SARCAN depots in Saskatoon have been accepting glass containers since January 1. (Don Somers/CBC)

The City of Saskatoon is hoping more people drop their glass jars at SARCAN rather than in blue bins.

In January, the city began a one-year pilot project with the recycling agency to limit the amount of broken glass Loraas receives through the city-wide blue box program.

According to the city, about 90 per cent of all glass received by Loraas is broken during the collection process.

"We thought, 'There's got to be a better way,' " Amber Weckworth, the city's manager of environmental performance, told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. "When you have all your materials in one bin and then it goes to a facility, gets dumped on on a sort floor and goes through a very intense sorting system, that glass just tends to break."

The City decided to partner with SARCAN, allowing people to dispose of their non-deposit glass at the same location they were already bringing their other glass recycling.

"It just made a lot of sense to be able to bring that glass into our tried and true system to make sure that it isn't broken," said SARCAN spokesperson Sydney Smith. "We already have these systems in place."

Much of the glass stays in Saskatchewan. It is brought to Moose Jaw, melted down and added to reflective paint that's used on highways.

"All that reflectivity that you see on highway paint on Saskatchewan roads, that's our glass," said Smith.

People can bring food containers (jam, pickle jars, olives) to SARCAN.

SARCAN will not accept excessively dirty glass, broken containers, pyrex pans or drinking glasses.

While a city report raised the possibility of banning glass from the blue bin program, the City of Saskatoon said there are no plans to exclude the containers from the current system.

The City has banned plastic bags and plastic wrap from blue bins, as it could not find a buyer willing to take them.

Glass currently makes up around four per cent of the city's recycling stream. Paper and cardboard make up 73 per cent of the material Loraas receives.

The city expects the new program to cost anywhere between $17,000 and $34,000, depending on its popularity.

The pilot project is expected to be revisited before it expires in December.


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