Soon, you’ll need to remove your lids before you get money for your bottles.

Ed Kapp
News Writer

Some SARCAN customers may be in for a surprise the next time they bring in their recycling. On April 1, in an attempt to both protect the health of their employees and make their ground level operations more efficient, SARCAN will no longer be accepting bottles that still have their lids attached.

“It’s just trying to simplify the process for everyone, and making it mandatory is our way of enforcing the process, basically,” offered Sydney Smith, communications officer for the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres. “As it stands we’ve always had posters in our depots that recommend that people take the caps off, but this is just a way to make sure people adhere to it.”

SARCAN collects 145 million glass and plastic bottles across the province’s 71 depots every year. It has long encouraged their customers to remove the lids from their bottles with posters reminding customers of the health hazards of excessive twisting and, according to one long-time SARCAN customer, “an occasional dirty look.” The launching of SARCAN’s ‘Caps Off Campaign’ on Jan. 1 marked the organization’s first official mandate to cut down on the amount of lidded bottles entering SARCAN.

“As of April 1, we’re going to make it mandatory to have your caps removed in order to receive your deposit, so [January’s ‘Caps Off Campaign’] is just a way to create public awareness and just make sure people know about it, because we don’t want people to get a huge shock when they come to the depot and find out that they have to remove their bottle caps,” Smith explained.

Smith said that SARCAN is implementing their policy for two reasons.

The primary motivation for refusing bottles with their lids attached is the potential health problems, like carpal tunnel syndrome. The syndrome is brought on by repetitive motions – like the clenching, twisting, and removing of caps from their respective bottles.

Secondly, for those indifferent to SARCAN employees’ health, Smith insisted that SARCAN’s forthcoming policies will directly benefit customers by eliminating the excessive waiting times that are brought on by SARCAN employees having to deal with the time-consuming process of removing scores of very securely-fastened bottle caps.

“At SARCAN, we really try to promote a healthy and safe workplace for our employees, and we didn’t want to see an increase in the number of wrist injuries. That’s the main drive behind it, helping out our employees,” noted Smith. “For customers who bring in their recycling with all their caps on, it’s very time-consuming for our employees to remove all those caps, there’s also a risk of wrist injuries. We want to speed up the process and help out our employees.”

Naturally, Smith and others at SARCAN worried that their new policy would be received negatively, but at this point, that hasn’t been the case.

“So far it’s only been positive, feedback has been really good about it and it’s not even mandatory yet, so we’re pretty excited about that fact,” said Smith. “To be honest, we were kind of concerned that that would be the case. We haven’t received any complaints.”

Although it’s yet to be determined how SARCAN’s newest policy will be received once it is officially put into practise in early April, if Smith’s rational approach to the topic is any indication, SARCAN’s plans should go off without a hitch.

“When you drink a drink and put the bottle in the recycling, its extra effort to put the cap back on, anyway.”

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