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Reducing Waste and Recycling

Good news, Saskatchewan!

You’ve contributed to some impressive recycling and waste reduction in our province:

  • More than four hundred million beverage containers recycled through SARCAN in 2015.
  • More than 422,000 litres of paint collected and diverted from landfills in 2014.
  • In 2015, 2,770 tonnes of waste electronics collected and recycled through the Saskatchewan Waste Electronic Equipment Program (SWEEP).
  • More than 861,000 scrap tires diverted from landfills in 2014.
  • In 2015, slightly more than 19 million litres of used oil and over two million oil filters were recycled in the province.

Where can I recycle my waste?

There are plenty of options to recycle waste. Visit the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council to learn more.

Saskatchewan’s waste diversion and recycling programs are based on the extended producer responsibility (EPR) model in which the producer is physically and/or financially responsible for the proper disposal of their product at the end of its useful life.  The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to working towards the development of legislation and regulations that support the Canadian Council of Minister of the Environment’s (CCME) Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (CAP-EPR).  Saskatchewan has established a number of successful EPR stewardship recycling programs to recycle beverage containers, used oil, oil filters and oil containers, antifreeze, scrap tires, paint and paint containers, electronic waste, and packaging and printed paper. 

Electronics The Electronic Product Recycling Association (EPRA) ensures end-of-life electronic waste is responsibly recycled. You can recycle your old electronics, such as home theatre systems, computers or televisions at any SARCAN depot.

Paint Drop off unwanted household paint to be recycled at any SARCAN depot in the province. SARCAN also offers a free paint exchange program. The Saskatchewan Paint Program, operated by ReGeneration, provides further information on the paint recycling program.

Beverage Containers –Take your non-refillable, ready-to-serve beverage containers to any SARCAN depot and receive a deposit refund. These containers include aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles and juice boxes.

Scrap Tires – The Saskatchewan Scrap Tire Corporation is a non-profit, non-government organization that delivers the province-wide tire recycling program. The program diverts millions of used tires from the waste stream, recycling them into useful items such as speed bumps, vehicle ramps, tree rings, mulch mats, and running tracks.

Used Oil and Antifreeze – Used oil, oil filters, oil containers, and antifreeze, can be re-refined, recycled and reprocessed into useful products like new lubricants, construction rebar, posts and fencing. Recycling used oil materials helps to prevent pollution and conserve non-renewable resources. The Saskatchewan Association for Resource Recovery Corporation (SARRC) provides further information on the used oil and antifreeze recycling program.

Multi-Material Recycling Program (MMRP)

MMRP is a province-wide recycling program for:

  • household printed paper, 
  • newspaper, 
  • cardboard, 
  • plastic, 
  • metal and;
  • glass packaging material

Saskatchewan municipalities and industry share the cost of the MMRP program.

Any business that sells or distributes household packaging and paper products in Saskatchewan may be financially obligated to participate in MMRP. Starting January 1, 2016, businesses with more than $5 million in annual revenue were obligated to become part of MMRP. Municipalities then receive funding to offset the cost of their recycling programs.

As Saskatchewan communities continue to grow, reducing the waste going into our landfills will help to extend the life of landfills and save infrastructure dollars.

Multi-Material Stewardship Western Inc. (MMSW) operates the program based on a product management plan that defines how the recycling program will be structured, funded and managed.

What else can you do

Let's throw away our ‘throw away’ mentality. We're making great progress as a province, but there's more each of us can do. Let's live the three Rs:

Reducing is the most important step. If you can avoid buying something, you don't have to figure out what to do with it later. 

Not only does it cost money, energy and natural resources to manufacture and move new products, it also costs a great deal to transport and process these products once we're done with them. The more waste we put in the ground, the more our landfills release methane gas (a contributor to climate change), as well as leachate, a toxic sludge that can kill plants and animals as well as contaminate our water supplies. Many Saskatchewan landfills are reaching their capacity, and extending their lifespan will help us avoid costs that we will all pay.

Before purchasing, ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Do I already have something that might do the job?
  • Can I rent or borrow instead?
  • Is the item meant to be used once and thrown out?
  • Are there more durable, less wasteful alternatives?

Reusing is all about giving things a second life. Ask yourself:

  • Is this item still usable? Can it be repaired? Who might I be able to give it to? Consider donating items to schools, libraries, daycares, shelters, care homes, hospitals, doctors' offices or thrift shops.
  • Renovating? Donate useful materials and fixtures to your local charity or Habitat for Humanity.

Recycling is the final R because it involves energy and resources to process materials into new products, but you can't be green without it. Fortunately, recycling is quickly becoming the norm in Saskatchewan. Here's what you can do right now:

  • Learn more about recycling programs available in Saskatchewan.
  • Find out what and where you can recycle in your community.
  • Shop green. Try to purchase products made from recycled material, ideally post-consumer content, which comes from community recycling programs.
  • Leave grass clipping on your lawn. They'll help to retain moisture and keep your grass green.
  • Start composting, even if you don't have a yard.

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