The changing global market for recyclable materials means certain items might no longer be accepted at local recycling depots.
Swift Current Councillor Ron Toles asked for an update on materials that are recycled in the city at a regular council meeting, July 29.
He requested the information after receiving a number of calls in recent weeks from residents, especially with regard to the recycling of plastics.
Mitch Minken, the City’s general manager of infrastructure and operations, provided an overview of the situation and the various recycling options in the city.
“Plastics are becoming a real problem for the recycling industry,” he said. “There is no market and no recycling use for a few items. Our recycling vendor has informed us that they are no longer going to be accepting these items, as they have no place to go.”
Recyclable plastic products are marked with the recycling symbol and a number inside this logo. The City’s multi-material recycling depot still accepts plastic products marked with the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, but those with the numbers 1 and 6 are not accepted.
“Six has never really been accepted,” he noted. “That's basically styrofoam. That's never been a recyclable product. So that's nothing new.”
The recycling depot is also not accepting hard plastics without a number, plastic films and plastic bags, including the typical grocery bags.
“So please encourage everyone to get your useable grocery bags and save us from having to put those products in our landfill,” he said.
The different plastics that are still accepted need to be cleaned with caps removed. The number 2 plastics must be sorted into clear or coloured. Clean milk jugs can be taken to SARCAN for refund.
“Any container that takes a deposit is available to go to SARCAN,” he said.
Minken mentioned that glass is another item not accepted at the recycling depot due to a lack of demand in the recycling market.
“There's no use for glass at this time as well,” he said. “At this time, we have been stockpiling for quite a long time at our landfill and I know other landfills are stockpiling, but at this time there is no use.”
Other materials that are not accepted for recycling are used tissues or paper towels of any kind, soiled cardboard, including used pizza boxes and food containers or coffee cups, and glossy paper.
The following materials can be taken to the recycling depot: Tin cans (rinsed, labels removed and flattened), newspaper, office paper, telephone books (remove cover and glossy pages), box board and corrugated cardboard, dry cell (non-recyclable) batteries, wet cell (non-recyclable) batteries, including car batteries, cereal boxes, and non perishable food boxes.
Minken referred to some of the other consumer products that can be taken to various locations in the city for recycling. Heavy metal and steel appliances can go to local steel recyclers, old cellphones can be taken to Staples or SaskTel, SARCAN takes electronics, any used oil, antifreeze, filters and containers can be taken to Tune-a-Matic’s eco centre, and local pharmacies will accept pharmaceuticals.
“There are many options and I would encourage anyone that's wondering about where we're at, which recycling, to please visit our website,” he said. “There's a wealth of information on our website about the items we do recycle and the other recycling options that are available within our city.”