March 22, 2017

Milk Containers Added to SARCAN Program; Existing Beverage Deposits Increase April 1

$2.5 Million Increase to Funding for SARCAN

Effective April 1, 2017, milk containers will be added to the provincial beverage recycling program, allowing Saskatchewan residents to return milk containers to any SARCAN depot for refund of a paid deposit.

“The addition of milk containers to SARCAN’s successful recycling program will increase recycling rates and keep milk containers out of our landfills,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said.  “We know that many Saskatchewan people include milk in their regular purchases.  This change is more convenient for people who want to return milk containers along with their other beverage recycling, and for those who don’t have access to other recycling programs in their community.”

Other regulation changes effective April 1 include returnable deposit increases for certain sizes of metal, plastic, paper-based cartons and aseptic containers currently accepted at SARCAN.  This is the first change to deposit amounts since 1992.  Deposit rate increases will more closely align with other jurisdictions in Canada and are intended to further increase recycling rates in the province.

The deposit for aluminum, tin and plastic containers one litre or greater will increase from $0.20 to $0.25.  Cartons and tetra packs, such as aseptic and polycoat containers, will increase from $0.05 to $0.10 for containers less than one litre, and $0.25 for containers one litre or greater.  Glass container deposits remain unchanged.

As with other beverage containers in the recycling program, milk containers will also be subject to an environmental handling fee of $0.06 for plastic containers, $0.07 for glass and $0.03 for aseptic and paper-based polycoat cartons.

Environmental handling charges cover the environmental cost of collecting, consolidating and recycling milk containers.

SARCAN will accept fluid beverage containers including milk, buttermilk, cream, fluid coffee creamers, lactose-free milk products and drinkable yogurt.  It will not accept containers from concentrates, infant formula, meal replacements, sour cream, non-fluid coffee additives, pre-whipped whipping cream, evaporated milk or condensed milk.  SARCAN will only accept milk containers with best before dates after April 1, 2017.

“We are pleased that the Government of Saskatchewan is adding milk containers to the deposit system,” SARC and SARCAN Recycling Executive Director Amy McNeil said.  “This decision will eliminate confusion over what types of beverage containers can be recycled.  Customers will now have the added convenience of being able to return all ready-to-serve beverage containers to SARCAN for full deposit refunds.  The adjustments to the deposit rates will help increase our return rates and divert even more waste from Saskatchewan landfills.”

Residents still have the option to place their deposit containers in their household curbside recycling bins, but will forfeit their deposit paid at the point of purchase.  Deposit containers, now including milk, placed in household curbside recycling bins will still be returned to SARCAN by municipal recycling contractors.

“Thanks to SARCAN and the people of Saskatchewan, we have the highest beverage recycling rates in Canada, with 86 per cent of returnable beverage containers turned in for recycling,” Moe said.  “We’re pleased to expand this program with SARCAN, which is such an important organization in our province.”

The Government of Saskatchewan works in partnership with the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC), SARCAN’s parent organization, to manage and operate the depot collection system for the beverage container collection and recycling program.  The approved funding for 2017-18 is $26.6 million, an increase of $2.5 million over 2016-17.

SARCAN Recycling started in 1988 as a division of SARC, the provincial association that provides services and supports to community-based organizations that work with people of varying abilities in Saskatchewan.  With a network of 72 depots and two processing plants, SARCAN provides recycling for beverage containers, household paint and end-of-life electronics.  It also provides meaningful careers for people of all abilities, with more than 600 employees province-wide.  Since 1988, the people of Saskatchewan have recycled more than seven billion beverage containers at SARCAN, making it one of the most successful recycling systems in North America.

Details on acceptable containers, deposit changes and implementation of the new regulations are available in the attached backgrounder.