The amount of material being recycled at Regens Disposal's recycling plant east of Bienfait has been gradually increasing since it opened in 2009.
The plant is about to get even busier.
October 7 marked the first day of expanded curbside recycling pick-up in Estevan. Residents who live west of Souris Avenue had their blue bins emptied that day.
Prior to October 7, only those who reside west of Souris, and north of the CP Rail tracks, had the benefit of curbside recycling pick-up, as the northwest corner was the subject of a trial run for the service. A total of 11,550 pounds of materials were collected during pick-ups that occurred on September 9 and 23.
People who live east of Souris Avenue will have their bins emptied for the first time on October 14.
Recycling pick-up will alternate on Mondays, with those who are west of Souris getting the service one week, and people east of the Souris the next week.
Once a truck is filled, it heads to the recycling plant in Bienfait and deposits materials on the floor. A thorough sorting process begins. Garbage is removed. Empty soft drink and alcoholic beverage cans and bottles are removed, too.
The remaining materials are then bailed.
It takes about 45 minutes to sort through a pile of materials, load the proper recyclables onto a bailer, and then bail everything.
"We ship newsprint, cardboard and mixed materials," said sales manager Logan Banilius. "We try to sort out as much material as we can from the mixed; it has better value (if it's sorted)."
Employees at the recycling plant get to take the bottles and cans to SARCAN to get the deposit refund.
Banilius reminds the public that the arrival of curbside pick-up doesn't mean they have to place their empty cans and bottles into the bins.
"It's a personal choice," said Banilius. "I know what I do: I sort mine out from the other recyclables (and take them to SARCAN). But some people would prefer the convenience (of putting cans and bottles in the bins)."
Items soiled by food, such as paper plates and pizza boxes, can't be recycled and shouldn't be in the bins. Banilius also urges people to not place non-recyclable plastics and chemical drums, and items such as Styrofoam and wood, in the bins, since they can't be recycled, either.
When the plant opened four years ago, Regens was shipping about four loads a month.
"We now ship up to three loads a week," said Banilius. "It's about 44,000 pounds in a load."
That equates to about 132,000 pounds, or 60,000 kilograms, on a weekly basis. Banilius cited several reasons for the increase: the arrival of curbside recycling to communities in the southeast, a growing interest in recycling among residents and businesses, and people using Estevan's recycling depot.
And the number will only climb, now that they'll be collecting paper, cardboard, plastic jugs, tin cans and other materials from half the city each Monday.