Calgary's in a tough spot as China is no longer taking their recyclables, and while other municipalities are also in dubious positions things look fine for Swift Current.
SARCAN has 72 recycling depots throughout Saskatchewan, including in Swift Current, and what they collect and sort doesn't go to China. Instead it stays inside North America, according to Communications Officer Sydney Smith.
"We haven't had any problems because all of our materials are recycled right within North America," she said. "Different products go to different places. So basically from Swift Current or any of our depots basically in our province it's sent to Saskatoon or Regina, depending where they're closer to, and from there they are processed and bailed and put into pallets and they get shipped to the different places."
Plastics go to Delta, B.C. where they're turned into fibres for fleece lining in jackets or plastic wood or something like that; aluminum goes to Alcan in Kentucky where it's melted down and formed into new aluminum (when it turns into the same product repeatedly it's a process called closed-loop recycling); juice boxes go to Cheboygan, Mich.; and glass turns into glass beads that provide the reflection on highway paint.
"My favourite out of all the products we recycle is glass," said Smith. "It's sent right down to Moose Jaw where it's melted down and then it's used to create the reflectivity that we see in the highway paint at night. That's actually glass bottles that are melted down and put in there. That one's kind of cool."
So while Calgary is faced with potentially having to put their recycling in a landfill, citizens in Swift Current can rest easy knowing their recyclables are going into keeping the lines on the road illuminated at night, rather than being lumped in with a bunch of trash.