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Letter: Looking ahead at the future of recycling while taking a look back


Looking ahead at the future of recycling while taking a look back

Raven ReCentre (previously Raven Recycling) is a 34-year-old not for profit society that started in order to initiate recycling in the Yukon. We are run by a volunteer board of directors, our executive director and her team.

I’ve been on the board for 16 years and the president for a total of 11 years.

I’m writing to ensure the public has two pieces of information about the future of recycling in Whitehorse.

First, I think it’s important to understand what’s been happening with regards to discussions with the Whitehorse mayor and city council since they were elected in October 2021.

Here is a quick summary:

In November 2021, our executive director (Heather Ashthorn) presented to mayor and council, highlighting some of the challenges and opportunities for the future.

In March 2022, she presented to the Yukon government and the municipal government, suggesting the city start investing in curbside recycling.

In early October 2022, she presented again to mayor and council, circling back to answer Coun. Ted Laking’s 2021 questions about the cost to recycle and this time saying, “We encourage you to think through the possibility of Raven’s public drop off no longer being open, and the consequences to recycling in the City of Whitehorse”.

On Oct. 26, 2022 both the city and Yukon Government received notice regarding the public drop-off closure. We received confirmation of receipt from both parties.

In December of 2022 we sent a reminder regarding the public drop off closure and reminded them to consider a budget for a blue bin pick up service.

On Feb. 27 of this year we made a public announcement about public drop off closure, effective Dec. 31. We also said that we would consider an extension if there was a public announcement of the City of Whitehorse taking over responsibility for were plans for recycling.

And perhaps it’s important for people to remember, that in 2014 a previous mayor and council discussed and voted on a blue bin pick up service to be managed by the city. It was voted down.

This mayor and council have been hearing from us since they were elected in fall 2021. And they received official notice 14 months in advance of the intended closure of Raven ReCentre’s public drop-off and several advance cautions.

We’re encouraged to hear, based on a Nov. 14 interview with the mayor, that city council will be reviewing and voting on a budget line item for a blue bin pick up service. We had been waiting to hear this confirmation.

Our primary motivation, since Raven ReCentre (formerly Raven Recycling) was established, has been to increase the level of recycling in the Yukon. With Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation anticipated to be implemented in 2025, and recognition of our limitations as a collector of recycling waste, we’ve felt these actions have been necessary to get the city on board and the baseline for diversion up.

It’s encouraging to see the City of Whitehorse becoming an active participant in the recycling conversation. We remain hopeful they’ll stay on track.

The board of directors and our cxecutive director would like to announce that Raven Recentre will keep its public drop off open while the budget is read and voted on, which we anticipate will take place this coming January or February.

Should the blue bin budget vote not pass, we’ll go back to closing off the public drop-off immediately. We’ll continue to process and ship out any recycling that comes to us through other streams. All other Raven programs will operate at full capacity.

If the vote passes, we’ll work with the city to ensure there is no gap in services, while officials work to get their system up and running. We recognize it takes some time.

Thank you for your support of Raven ReCentre, and before it, Raven Recycling, for decades. We hope you’ll continue to bring us your refundable beverage containers, fabrics, electronics, batteries and so much more. These projects help fund our education and Zero Waste efforts.


Jacqueline Bedard

on behalf of the Raven ReCentre Board of Directors