The City of Weyburn Works Department recently cleared a large number of old electronics from the area around the cardboard recycling bins at the SARCAN recycling facility. They took the items the distance of about 20 yards over to the SARCAN building, where they were accepted for recycling.
"Those old TVs, DVD players and VCRs that aren't working anymore, you take them to SARCAN during their working hours and the government takes them away and they recycle them properly," said Laura Morrissette of the City of Weyburn Environmental Committee. "Some of the stuff can be reused, and it should go into its proper place."
Morrissette said the committee is hoping to see more people using the recycling bins for their intended purpose.
"We are finding bags of garbage in the recycling bins," she said. "They are not dumpsters. They are for paper and cardboard. It gets taken to Regina with this company called Crown Shred and we get money back, but if someone spoils that, we don't get the money for that dumpster full of cardboard. We're actually losing money. Not only that, but it costs manpower to clean it up."
Morrissette noted that for those too busy to take the bottles to SARCAN during regular hours, which are Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., SARCAN will collect the refundables from the residence, sort them and then send a cheque. Alternatively, for those who don't mind donating their cans and bottles instead, they can be dropped off any time day or night directly into a bin outside of the SARCAN facility. The proceeds go to the Wor-Kin Shop for their new Day Program Building fund.
One day per year, SARCAN accepts hazardous wastes like old paint cans, batteries, etc. It usually coincides with the spring Clean-Up Campaign, a committee Morrissette also represents, along with Communities in Bloom.
"We do have a really pretty city and I want to keep it that way," she said, adding that organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association will haul away loads to the dump. "That is a donation going toward some really great programs," she noted of the CMHA.
Fines for littering in the City of Weyburn are up to a $5,000.
"We also want to extend the life of our landfill, too," said Morrissette. "We don't want everything going there, if there are things that can be reused or go to recycling."
For Weyburn residents, Rose Anne McInnes, owner of Blue Earth Environmental and Consulting, has created an easy, alternative option to simply 'taking it all to the dump'. Now, Weyburn residents truly have no excuse not to recycle.
"I started with wanting to clean up what was going out to the landfill," said McInnes.
"At first I was overwhelmed," she said, noting that because she was just one person, the task seemed daunting. She was, however, encouraged by hearing the story of another person who did a similar business in another province and made it work.
McInnes began offering Got Junk services locally, as well as curbside and commercial recycling.
McInnes' store on Third Street in Weyburn includes a variety of second-hand items, much of which are in excellent condition. Shoppers can get previously-owned appliances, house wares, games, DVDs, books and children's clothing.
Her service extends to personal shopping, so that things can end up in the right hands.
The store idea emerged when McInnes saw the amount of useful items being taken to the landfill following huge garage sales.
"I was mortified," she said, detailing how she cleared the curling rink following one such event, rented and filled a U-haul, bought a carport, which she filled along with her basement and sheds at her farm.
"Slowly, I was selling it off, giving it, donating it - whatever I could do to weed it down," she said. Then, she said, the phone calls increased and she grew out of her basement. The storefront became available recently and McInnes jumped on the chance to open the space up to the general public.
Blue Earth is no ordinary thrift store. McInnes keeps the store regularly stocked with the big sellers, which she takes a weekly trip to Regina to accomplish.
"Twin beds are a commodity, as are fridges," she said. "I can't keep enough in the store."
She noted how so many people can't believe the quality of items being sold second-hand.
"It doesn't always have to be new," said McInnes. "It's changing that mindset."
McInnes takes no items consignment, but accepts donations and sources her own items.
"I want it economical for everybody," she said. "The items I get donated, I make cheap enough so that everybody goes, 'oh, I'll check there first', instead of buying new, because it takes all of our natural resources to make new stuff. Everybody just tosses away everything, which goes to the landfill."
"I thought we were growing to being more environmentally friendly," she said, "but when you go out to this landfill?" McInnes shook her head and displayed her photographs of perfectly useful items that are currently taking up space at the city's dump.
"As an environmental technologist, going out to the landfill, there have been times when I've stood there, wondering, 'how can this be happening in this day and age?' I don't understand this. There has to be a system."
McInnes plans to meet with the Environmental Committee regarding some very practical ideas she has in mind.