Your story about corrupt compost brought out some frustrations and concerns we have with the compost collection process, especially at the dump.
My partner and I own a restaurant here in Whitehorse, The KEBABery.
From the very start in creating our restaurant, and because we chose the Yukon to live and raise our children, we believed the environment was a very important and necessary component.
And, for clarity, we aren’t fanatical about it, or hippies, eco-warriors or the like - we just believe that if it can be done with a little effort then why not make the effort?
We use biodegradable eco-friendly cleaning products wherever possible, as well we serve our quick-lunch items on compostable plates, bowls, cups, to-go containers, wrappers, etc.
Not only does this help the environment in regards to waste, it means we use the dishwasher less. This reduces energy consumption and water use, not to mention lessening harsh dishwashing chemicals known to leach zinc into the watertable.
We collect all the nonuseable organic materials and food scrapings that can be composted, and sort out recyclables.
In the past, we even sent some of our organics to a local farmer for feed. Our waste cooking oil is used by a local resident as biodiesel fuel. We try to keep our wastes to a minimum and our busy little restaurant only generates one to two bags of refuse, at the most, per week.
And, weekly, I drive out to the city refuse transfer for recycling and to deposit the compost.
And this is where frustration sets in - I can’t tell how disheartening it is when I dump the organics to find all sorts of garbage mixed in the compost bin.
Mattresses, a weedwhacker, bicycle wheels, cans, metals, Styrofoam packing, plastic tarps, and the list goes on and on.
To the people who did this, and you know who you are, do you not have any civic pride?
Do you not have any common sense in regards to your environment and what you have here in the Yukon?
Because of your ignorance and carelessness, someone now has to crawl into the bin to remove the items. The worse part of it is that there is a general waste bin a mere two metres away. I just don’t get it.
There are popular restaurants in town that use the compostables for take-out to give the impression they care to their customers, yet make no efforts behind the scenes and dump everything in their bins unsorted for general waste. When we see this, and the above, we ask ourselves: Why make the effort?
Why spend the extra time, money and effort to do this when there is such a callous disregard for our environment?
I read recently that in the Yukon we recycle only 18 per cent of our garbage. Eighteen per cent is an appalling number for a small community like ours, and it’s due to the lack of proper facilities and services.
That means a whopping 82 per cent is just thrown away and buried. Our lack of proper facilities is shameful. I recently found out paint cans are buried at the dump in a large pit Ã this is surely a water-table disaster waiting to happen.
Since chemicals are collected only once a year (can you imagine, some people can’t be bothered to use a compost bin properly), what do you think happens during the rest of the year with chemicals?
Raven Recycling, which is in charge of the dump, is working hard, but I believe it is losing the battle without a commitment from us, and our governments at all levels.
Why is the city council or the territorial government not making real efforts for our environment?
Why don’t we have the proper facilities?
Why don’t we have curbside recycling collection/sorting and commercial composting for the 100-plus food outlets we have in town? Why don’t we have programs that promote environmental stewardship and reward those who do care via tax incentives and recognition and fine those who don’t? It’s time for more action and less studies/talk.
Do we need another $60,000 and an Ontario company to tell us what to do again? Cheap shot, maybe, but by no means is 18 per cent “above expectations” or a “clear vision for a bright future.”
Yes, there are all sorts of priorities out there, but none of them will matter when the wilderness, when the unspoiled nature that is Yukon, is gone and what’s left is polluted.
It’s time to get their heads out of the compost!
Louis-R. Gagnon, Bobbi L.