While homeowners can recycle their glass food and beverage containers in curbside blue bins, a SARCAN initiative could see all types of glass containers delivered to the depot for disposal.
SARCAN began working with Saskatoon and Regina in January 2019 on a pilot project to recycle all glass jars and containers at depots instead of tossing them in the landfill, and based on that initiative’s success, the non-profit organization is expanding it across the province, explained Sean Homenick, manager of communications and culture.
“It’s been going so great. We’ve diverted a lot of pounds of glass (from landfills) in both those communities,” he remarked.
The organization began reaching out to other municipalities earlier this year to see if they were interested in extending their recycling efforts to non-beverage containers such as pickle jars and jam jars, he continued. While the City of Moose Jaw hasn’t signed on yet, seven other communities have joined the initiative.
Many communities prohibit residents from recycling glass in blue bins or carts because it is considered a contaminant if it breaks. Through this initiative, SARCAN depots would accept all glass containers in the same manner as they accept glass beverage bottles.
“One-hundred-per-cent of the glass that we recycle at SARCAN gets transformed into new products, and conveniently actually, our clear glass ends up at Potters Industries (a glass recycler) in Moose Jaw,” said Homenick.
The glass at Potters is turned into beads that are used in highway paint, while coloured glass is sent to Airdrie, Alta., where it’s recycled into fibreglass insulation for homes and buildings.
Recycling glass is important because it removes a valuable commodity from landfills, Homenick said. While glass is composed of silica — a natural element that could be tossed out — it can find a second life as another resource used in food production.
Furthermore, recycling glass also reduces greenhouse gasses since neither glass beads nor fibreglass insulation needs to be created from virgin materials. Instead, recycled glass reduces energy demand and frees up space at garbage dumps.
“My favourite thing, too, about glass recycling at SARCAN is it creates employment opportunities for our teams across Saskatchewan. That’s our foundation,” he added. “That’s why we exist at SARCAN, is to create employment in the environmental sector, especially for people who experience barriers to employment, like people experiencing disabilities.
“So, lots of great reasons why people should recycle glass at SARCAN.”
According to SARCAN’s website, it employs more than 900 people in 67 communities across Saskatchewan. Meanwhile, from April 2020 to March 2021, it collected more than 433 million beverage containers.
City hall told the Moose Jaw Express by email that it did receive SARCAN’s proposal and will respond soon to the organization about the initiative. Furthermore, the municipality is interested in enhancing glass recycling in the community but needs more information about how any new program would affect the city’s budget.
“Recycled glass is used in multiple ways, thanks in part to companies like Moose Jaw’s own Potters Canada,” city hall added. “Residents are currently able to recycle clean glass containers with the city’s blue bin collection program.”