Friday, September 03, 2004

Saskatoon has a number of people who you see regularly who I call pickers, just as I'm sure other cities of comparable size do. These are folks who go thru garbage cans downtown and around malls looking for discarded beverage containers to exchange for the deposit on them. Some of the more ambitious ones check thru dumpsters behind apartment buildings and businesses, or even work residential back alleys. One thing I find interesting about them is that none of them wear gloves. Personally if I were doing that one of the first things I want to get my hands on is a pair of gloves given some of the things people throw in public garbage cans, especially in this age of diseases like AIDS being transmitted thru discarded junkie syringes.

Deposit returns on most refundable beverage containers are handled here by SARCAN, a local organisation that uses handicapped folks to run the return depots.(Glass beer bottles and alcohol bottles can also be returned to Saskatchewan Liquor Board stores for refund.) SARCAN currently has a monthly limit of 50 dollars per person for deposit returns because of people bringing in large numbers of containers from out of province to claim the refund, so I wonder how the pickers who gather more than 50 bucks a month deal with this. There are at least a couple of small firms that buy beverage containers from private individuals, so presumably some of the pickers go thru them, although they will obviously get less money than if they go to SARCAN directly.

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