Ever wonder what happens to your recyclables after you've dropped them off at a SARCAN Recycling depot?
All materials collected at SARCAN are recycled into everyday, useable products. No materials are ever put in landfills. See below for more information.
The clear glass that our customers bring into SARCAN goes to Potter’s Industries Inc. in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, while the colored glass is shipped to Vitreous Environmental Group in Airdrie, Alberta. From there, it is manufactured primarily into new glass bottles and jars. It is also made into fiberglass insulation, a very highly sought after product. Any recycled glass that does not meet the standards for manufacture into new glass containers or fiberglass insulation (due to contamination) can be used for a wide array of other applications. These include countertops and floors, landscaping, tile, abrasives, filtration and as an ingredient in roadway products – tiny glass spheres that are added to road paint to create the reflection you see while driving.
All of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles that come into our SARCAN depots are sent off to Calgary. PET is the most common type of plastic used for beverage containers, and is marked with a #1 on or near the bottom of the containers. The high-density or ‘other’ plastics (including plastic milk jugs) go to Vancouver, B.C. It is very important to recycle all of your plastic bottles, as they are made from a 100% recyclable, extremely versatile material! While it takes petroleum-based plastics like PET about 450 years to decompose once they end up in the landfill, they can instead be recycled into a variety of useful products and materials. Recycled PET typically becomes polyester carpeting, fiber fill in winter jackets and sleeping bags and a variation of material for clothing including polyester fleece. Recycled plastic bottles are also transformed into new plastic products – everything from lawn furniture to the plastic scoop that comes with your laundry detergent! The process of recycling PET and other products is fairly straight forward: first, containers are chipped and washed, resulting plastic flake can be further processed into plastic fluff for the manufacturing of fiber products. The plastic flakes can also be melted into sheet plastic for many molded plastic products and packaging.
The aseptic containers (also known as TetraPak) that come into SARCAN are shipped off to Cheboygan, Michigan. Once they arrive at their destination, these containers are submitted to a process called hydrapulping. This process separates the layers of paper, plastic and aluminum that make up the beverage container. This is done in lukewarm, slightly alkaline water for about 30 minutes. The high-quality paper pulp, which comprises about 70% of the container, is then made into cardboard corrugate, napkins, facial tissue and high grade paper. This resulting paper is highly desirable, clean and bright. The residual plastic (24%) and aluminum (6%) gleaned from the process is used for fences, decks and flowerpots.
The more durable steel containers that come into SARCAN end up at the Evraz in Regina, a leading steel manufacturer. At Evraz, they produce a wide range of specialty industrial steel products, such as rail (for trains!), line pipe and coiled plate. The tin and steel containers are melted down and turned into other steel products, such as rebar, pipe, car parts and more.
All aluminum products brought into SARCAN are sent off to the Coca-cola Recycling plant in Berea, Kentucky. The smelter used to melt the aluminum down is operated by Novelis, the largest recycler of aluminum in the world! Aluminum cans most typically become – you guessed it – more aluminum cans. In fact, the recycling of aluminum is incredibly efficient: when you drop off an aluminum can at your local SARCAN depot, it can be back on the shelves as a new can in as little as 60 days! This is partly because, unlike many other materials, aluminum retains its properties throughout the recycling process. In fact, making a new can from recycled aluminum saves 95% of the energy needed to make a can from primary aluminum – over 60% of a typical aluminum can is recycled material. Therefore, this is considered a true ‘closed-loop’ recycling system. Just another great reason to bring your aluminum cans into SARCAN.