Saskatchewan’s unique deposit return program boasts one of the highest recovery rates in North America. It’s 94 per cent, and is almost entirely operated by disabled individuals.
SARCAN Recycling—a subsidiary of the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC)—was set up to handle the non-refillable beverage container recycling contract for the province. The association provides a common voice with which to advocate government policy directions, secure major contracts for workshop production, conduct continuing education programs, and research new employment opportunities for people with physical or mental challenges.
Throughout the province, SARCAN operates 71 receiving depots, two processing centres, and one administrative office. It employs 365 adults, 80 per cent of which are persons with disabilities. According to Dale Botting, executive director of SARCAN, employees are paid above minimum wage and are provided with excellent group benefits and pension plans. It’s estimated that their employment results in a reduction of more than $1-million in annual social assistance payments.
When Saskatchewan consumers purchase a ready-to-serve beverage, they are charged a deposit of 5, 10, 20, or 40 cents—depending on container size—and an environmental handling charge that ranges from 3 to 7 cents per unit (depending on the material used for the container). All monies go directly to the provincial government and deposits are redeemed at SARCAN depots.