Thursday, 02 August 2018 11:13

SARCAN depot in Swift Current celebrates 30th anniversary

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Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault (at right) congratulates SARCAN staff member Roy Whitlock on his 30 years of service. Applauding at left is SaskAbilities Regional Director Kimi Duzan. Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault (at right) congratulates SARCAN staff member Roy Whitlock on his 30 years of service. Applauding at left is SaskAbilities Regional Director Kimi Duzan. Matthew Liebenberg/Prairie Post

The SARCAN depot in Swift Current held a customer appreciation day on July 27 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the depot in the community.

 

Visitors were able to enjoy cake and coffee and tour the depot during the day. A short program took place at 2 p.m. to celebrate this milestone.

The speakers during the program were SaskAbilities Regional Director Kimi Duzan, SARCAN Senior Communications Officer Sydney Smith and Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault.

The long-time service of SARCAN employee Roy Whitlock, who has been working at the depot in Swift Current for 30 years, was recognized during the event.

For Whitlock the best part of his job is the opportunity to work with customers. He has seen many changes at the depot over the years, and the most significant has been the expanding list of recycle items that are accepted by SARCAN.

One of the benefits has been a cleaner community and he does not see discarded bottles and cans in the ditches anymore.

“I used to bottle pick,” he said after the program. “I used to go and find a lot of bottles in the ditches. Not anymore.”

SaskAbilities has operated the SARCAN depot in Swift Current since it opened in July 1988.

“This is a very important day and it’s a very important year when we’re celebrating 30 years of operation of our SARCAN recycling and what its done for the province and what its done for the community of Swift Current, both in terms of gathering refundable materials, keeping them out of the landfill, and also creating good jobs for people of all abilities,” Duzan said.

The depot currently employs 18 people, including full-time, part-time and casual staff.

“So we have a strong core staff that provide this important service,” she said.

Some members of the SARCAN team in Swift Current has been working at the depot for many years. SARCAN has been providing new opportunities for people of all abilities to find employment since it opened in 1988.

“It provides a meaningful income, a job with good benefits, and then people start contributing,” she said. “They contribute as taxpayers, they rent, they own. So it changes the whole dynamics and that’s very powerful for people of all abilities to have that opportunity.”

According to Smith the Swift Current SARCAN depot was one of the first to open in the province in July 1988. It started in a car wash and the current depot opened 10 years ago at its location on Cheadle Street West.

SARCAN was created in 1988 as the recycling division of SARC (Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres) when aluminum cans were introduced in the province.

The provincial government awarded the contract to recycle used beverage containers to SARC. The initial 32 SARCAN depots have increased over the years and there are currently 72.

These depots employ over 600 people and close to eight billion beverage containers have been recycled in Saskatchewan since 1988.

“Other provinces don't have SARCAN,” Smith said. “It's a really unique thing that's only in Saskatchewan and I think that we should all just be so proud of that fact. It's a really important time to celebrate the fact that we've been doing this for 30 years and I think we'll be doing it for 30 more years.”

A variety of recycle items are accepted at depots, including deposit beverage containers, household paint, and electronics. The SARCAN program makes a huge difference to keep these items out of landfills.

“When they go in the landfill they just sit there,” she said. “It takes up to 700 years for the material to break down, but when you bring it back to SARCAN you know that it's being recycled responsibly and it's also being recycled in North America. We're committed to making sure that all of our materials stay in North America and nothing is shipped overseas into questionable markets.”

The Swift Current depot serves over 50,000 customers annually and during the past year it set a new record of over 11 million containers returned, which was an increase of about one million containers.

This increase was due to the addition of milk containers on deposit, the introduction of the new Drop & Go service, as well as the dedication and hard work of staff.

SARCAN is offering the Drop & Go service at larger depots in cities and towns across the province to make it more convenient for customers to recycle. In Swift Current the service is located at the back of the building.

“You come into the rear part of the building and you literally drop and go,” Duzan said. “You set up an account, the refund goes right back into your account and as part of that there’s also an opportunity to drop and donate. So you can actually designate your containers or your donation to SaskAbilities, and that continues to create more opportunities for everyone.”

 
Read 175 times Last modified on Thursday, 02 August 2018 17:31
Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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