Protecting Our Source Water Is Important – Know Your Recycling Options

Proper disposal of waste products is important to protect our source water. Threats to our source waters include sewage systems, road salts, pesticides, fuel, and livestock grazing. Source water is any untreated water found in rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers which is used for the supply of raw water for municipal water treatment systems for human consumption. Source water protection is the actions taken to protect that raw source of municipal drinking water from contamination and is the first step in a multi-barrier approach.

In Saskatchewan, a regulated grain bag recycling program is operated by CleanFarms. Saskatchewan farmers have already recycled 25% more grain bags in 2019 than they did in all of 2018. In 2021, CleanFarms reported that they have set up 46 collection sites in so far. In Saskatchewan, twine recycling has been added as a new pilot program as part of the Building a Zero-Plastic-Waste Strategy for Agriculture Project. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP).

Not only plastics pose a huge risk to our environment. Electronics belong to our everyday now. Due to rapid developments in the electronics industry, product life cycles have been shortened. For example, the average life span of a laptop is now 3-4 years. Recycling electronics properly is important because they contain potentially harmful substances that can enter our landfills. E-waste can include toxic ingredients such as flame retardants in plastics, lead in old computer monitors and TVs, mercury in LCD screens and more (read more here).

Have you heard of EPRA/Recycle My Electronics before? In Canada, all provinces have programs to recycle electronic waste. The majority of these are operated by the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA). In Saskatchewan, EPRA-SK collects electronics via SARCAN depots, some retailers, and one-day community collection events. More about EPRA can be found here.

Lastly, dumping used oil or antifreeze can have negative impacts on our water sources. Used oil is considered the single most potentially hazardous material in Canada if not managed properly. Used antifreeze is toxic; dumping it can cause serious water quality problems. Thankfully, in Saskatchewan, we have the Saskatchewan Association for Resource Recovery Corp. (SARRC). SARRC’s mandate is to keep potentially hazardous used oil and antifreeze materials out of Saskatchewan’s landfills and the environment through recycling and reuse. With 35 EcoCentres and nearly 150 public drop-off points, Saskatchewan has one of the best-used oil and antifreeze materials recycling networks in Canada. On their website, you can find out where your nearest oil drop-off location is situated.