Those containers really add up.

Not just on your tally sheet, either. Every single container that you bring to SARCAN to be recycled has a beneficial environmental impact. It pushes us closer to a sustainable future, recovers precious materials, puts those materials to good use using a fraction of the energy, and helps keep SARCAN’s doors open in Saskatchewan’s communities, employing Saskatchewan people.

Read more about how impactful your recycling is.

Every time that you visit SARCAN to recycle your beverage containers, old paint, electronics, or batteries, you are helping support one of Canada’s leaders in environmental protection & inclusive employment, while helping build the stability of our economy and the strength of our communities.

So, we just wanted to say THANK YOU for recycling at SARCAN! The impact of your recycling goes so much deeper than the cash in your pocket from your refund. On this page, we want to share those impacts with you so you can see just how awesome you are for recycling.


Environmental sustainability is about conserving our natural resources and protecting our natural ecosystems so that current and future generations can live and thrive in a modern world while preserving the wonderous beauty of our planet.

While there are many steps on the path to a sustainable environment – recycling is a large part of that journey. Products are continually being produced, and we need systems – Like SARCAN – in place to handle those products once they have reached the end of their useful life. By recovering the resources and materials that are used to make these products, we are able to reuse them as opposed to mining raw materials.

This cuts back dramatically the number of natural resources taken from our ecosystems, the amount of energy needed in the manufacturing cycle, and the number of harmful pollutants entering our environment. And since we are reusing the materials instead of just trashing them, we are reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills.

Every step along the way, recycling reduces our environmental footprint. Let’s dive into each of these aspects a bit deeper to see the beneficial impact of your recycling efforts.

Resource Conservation

SARCAN Recycling does not collect waste. We collect resources.

The aluminum that makes up a can, the plastic or glass that makes your bottles, even the cardboard and paper aggregate that helps create that milk carton – none of these belong in a landfill. They are useful resources that have value and can have a second life. And, for some, a third, fourth, and fifth life. Heck, some of these resources can be used nearly infinitely over and over again and create a circular economy where we don’t need to rely on extracting raw materials from our planet.

Aluminum and plastics are examples of circular economy materials. That bag of aluminum cans you brought to SARCAN will get counted, crushed, prepped, and shipped to downstream markets where it will be melted down, rolled out, and made right back into aluminum cans, filled with your favourite beverage, ready to be drank again, and continue the loop.

Polyethylene Terepthalate – which you would recognize as the plastic used to make your water and pop bottles – is the same. After all the SARCAN steps, it can be shredded, flaked, melted, and molded into a bottle once again.

By bringing your empties to SARCAN, you are adding those valuable resources and materials to the feedstock for the manufacturing industry here in North America.

Energy Conservation

We’re not going to lie, recycling does take energy. But it is shocking how much energy it also saves.

The amount of energy required to manufacture the items SARCAN collects using raw materials is incredibly intensive. Many of these materials are natural resources that need to be extracted from the earth and can only be sourced in select regions around the globe. That means they will need to be transported very long distances to be brought here, and then still need to be refined in order to be used.

Replacing those raw materials with recycled materials in the manufacturing process, right here in our own backyard, helps eliminate a vast amount of the energy required. As the amount of material that gets recycled goes up, the amount of energy expended goes down!

By using the recycled plastics that you bring to SARCAN in their process, manufacturers only use 34% of the energy they would have used if they used raw materials. And it gets better: using recycled aluminum instead of the raw materials used to make aluminum eliminates 95% of the energy!

Sounds cool, but what does it really mean? Well, the energy saved by recycling at SARCAN is equal to the energy required to power over 9,000 homes for a year. Recycling a single pop bottle saves enough energy to power a lightbulb for up to 10 hours. A 24-pack of empty cans saves enough to charge your phone for an entire year!

Greenhouse Gas Avoidance

We know it is tricky to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as an individual. But, just by recycling at SARCAN, you are!

We’ve already talked about the massive amount of energy and steps required for the intensive process of making a product using raw materials and resources. All of that energy and each of those steps are big contributors to the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. (Eliminating GHG emissions is worth it just so we can stop typing that word!) These emissions are drivers of man-made climate change.

Once again, by recycling at SARCAN, you are helping replace raw materials in the production cycle with recycled resources, massively reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. As we mentioned in the previous section, replacing raw aluminum with recycled aluminum decreases the energy used by 95% – that alone is an enormous reduction in energy, which in turn is an enormous reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

So much, in fact, that it is equivalent to conserving over 21.5 million litres of gasoline. Or to put it another way: it’s the same effect as pulling nearly 11,000 cars off the road annually!

Waste Reduction

At SARCAN, we feel that everyone deserves respect. But, we aren’t opposed to a little trash talk. Which brings us to our next point: landfills!

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: the items SARCAN accepts are resources that don’t belong in a landfill. And, in fact, it turns out to be a big problem if they end up there. Recyclable materials that end up in landfills produce all those nasty greenhouse gases we were talking about before. Not only do they pollute our air, they pollute our water and our soil. And, they do this for many, many years. It can take up to 450 years for plastic bottles to fully decompose in a landfill.

By returning your beverage containers, paint, electronics, and batteries to SARCAN, you are keeping these materials out of our landfills. This doesn’t just help out environmentally, but also economically. Running and managing landfills is a large cost, in terms of both money and resources, for our municipalities.

Every year SARCAN recyclers like yourself prevent millions of pounds of valuable, useful materials from ending up in Saskatchewan landfills. That works out to be around 19 million cubic feet, or over 71,000 garbage truckfuls of landfill space saved every year.

That is a massive (pun intended) amount of savings for our environment and our communities.

Job Creation

While environmental protection and recycling go hand in hand, it’s not the only reason why recycling is important.

Turning billions of containers and materials into new products sounds like magic, but we can assure you, there are no wands or potions involved. It is the result of hundreds of dedicated employees from all over Saskatchewan. SARCAN employs over 900 people of all abilities and backgrounds, making us one of Canada’s largest inclusive employers.

And that is just within the SARCAN system. This doesn’t count (heh. We’re always counting, aren’t we?) all of the external jobs that are supported by the recycling industry, such as transportation companies, equipment distributors, and suppliers, all the way to the downstream markets that receive the materials, and the facilities that turn those materials into new things.

Recycling doesn’t just create a new product stream; it creates meaningful, rewarding careers and employment opportunities.

Economic Stability

That refund you got isn’t just money in your pocket. The billions of containers that are brought to SARCAN result in an incredible amount of money that flows back to the communities that we serve.

The deposit system for beverage containers is a wonderful system – with an average annual return rate above 80%, we are living proof of that! And, as we’ve seen above, all of those containers are valuable resources that stimulate a growing, sustainable production industry, benefiting our local economies.

The deposit system is a system filled with opportunities. The opportunity for customers to leave our depots with cash in their pockets that they are able to spend locally, helping businesses, and in turn, their employees thrive. It creates the opportunity to provide meaningful employment to people of all abilities province-wide.

And it creates the opportunity to support all of the beautiful communities throughout Saskatchewan. We offer support to communities, schools, and workplaces to make recycling for them easy and accessible, giving them the opportunity for an additional revenue stream. Local sports teams, clubs, and organizations raise thousands of dollars each year through bottle drives.

Each year, our customers loyally fundraise for Telemiracle through Drop & Go donations (shameless promo incoming! Donate all year round using the phrase ‘Telemiracle’ at any Drop & Go Kiosk!), and Helping Hands sales. Over the course of our 20 year partnership with Telemiracle, over $1,000,000.00 have been raised!