Skip to content

‘Bigger, brighter, better:’ SARCAN officials excited for opening of new depot

Moose Jaw's SARCAN depot was one of the first in 1988, and 36 years later, it's moving to a new home to accommodate the growth in containers and customers.

MOOSE JAW — Bigger, brighter, and better is how SARCAN officials describe the new Moose Jaw depot, a fact that will soon become apparent to the thousands of customers who use the venue regularly.   

The Friendly City’s SARCAN depot was one of the first that the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC) opened when it began recycling in 1988, and 36 years later, the outlet is moving to a new home to accommodate the growth in containers and customers over the last five years.

The depot takes in about 1.8 million containers a month, while last year, it handled more than 17 million containers from more than 60,000 customers, making Moose Jaw one of the busiest by volume in Saskatchewan. 

The last day for the current depot at 50 Manitoba Street East is Thursday, May 30, while the first day at the new venue at 52 Highland Road is Monday, June 3.

Carman Boss, depot supervisor, and Jane Hubbard-Richards, SARCAN’s communications and culture co-ordinator, gave a tour on May 23 and spoke about its new features, such as: 

  • The new depot is 7,600 square feet in size, double the current venue’s 3,800 square feet
  • There are 12 sorting chutes instead of eight
  • The floor is covered with a recycled material that is easily cleanable and provides a good grip 
  • The Drop ‘n’ Go station is 480 square feet in size compared to 48 square feet, while there are several digital kiosks to handle multiple customers
  • The venue can handle multiple bulk orders in one day versus one order every three days 
  • Instead of bags, there are two conveyor belts to move aluminum, plastics and other containers to the back, while a third system handles glass
  • The building has automated LED lighting 
  • Big windows allow in more natural light 
  • The shipping dock has three spots for semi-trucks 
  • A hand-washing station for customers
  • A much larger parking lot 

The new depot is “incredible” because it will make life easier for everyone and help staff be more effective through the incorporation of new technology, Boss said. 

The technology — automated conveyor belts — will reduce wear and tear on employees’ bodies because they will do less walking, won’t have to throw containers into bags and won’t have to empty those bags, he continued. They can also interact more often with customers.

“It’s very efficient,” Boss said.

Another feature the depot supervisor appreciated was how clean the venue would be, as sprinklers are connected to each conveyor belt and can be put on a timer. Moreover, there are drains everywhere to remove water immediately.

“It gets rid of a lot of the classic SARCAN smells and aromas,” said Hubbard-Richards. 

Since aluminum and common No. 1 plastics comprise 89 per cent of SARCAN’s volume of containers, the conveyor belts will take those materials directly to the back for flattening, Hubbard-Richards remarked. 

By flattening items, the depot can fit four times as much material onto semi-trailers and doesn’t have to store as much or for as long as before, she continued. This makes the process smoother for SARCAN.

SARCAN has renovated the Moose Jaw depot several times, but those additions could only do so much to handle the massive volume of materials, the communications and culture co-ordinator said. Besides containers, the depot also collects paint, electronics and batteries. 

“So, having this new building that’s bigger, brighter (and) better is just going to be phenomenal. And we’re going to be able to take more material,” she added. 

Hubbard-Richards noted that last year, SARCAN took in more than 50 million beverage containers — the most in its history — and millions of pounds of paint, batteries and technology. These efforts prevented 43 million pounds of recyclables from entering landfills. 

The current depot has 20 employees — all will keep their jobs — but management will hire more once the new venue is open a couple of weeks and volume levels are better known, especially with bulk orders, said Boss. Staff are excited about the new building and have been visiting for tours.

Moose Jaw Diversified Services operates the depot and provides the staff — some have worked there since 1988 — in a partnership that “is very, very valuable” to SARC, said Hubbard-Richards. 

Besides protecting the environment and offering money for containers, SARCAN also builds inclusive communities and creates rewarding employment, she added. 

Hubbard-Richards discussed the new depot potentially being too far away for residents — especially low-income people — to reach, saying they can take the No. 1 Athabasca East bus route, which stops in front of the building. Meanwhile, “a big portion” of customers already take the bus, so they’ll have to use a different route.

“We have a really dedicated customer base here in Saskatchewan (and) we’re really proud of our brand awareness … ,” she added. “So we’re really happy to be bringing (Moose Jaw) … a bigger, better, nicer building.” 

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks