The city’s curbside recycling plans are a regressive cash grab

Roger Rondeau I read your Jan. 22 editorial regarding waste management and in particular the need for a new city program for curbside pick-up and processing of recyclable products. You make some valid points. However, there are some points that need criti


by Roger Rondeau

I read your Jan. 22 editorial regarding waste management and in particular the need for a new city program for curbside pick-up and processing of recyclable products. You make some valid points.

However, there are some points that need critical thinking. First, your premise that if we don’t do what you consider correct, i.e. initiate a universal city curbside recycling program, we will go back to the cave-man days of dumping our garbage over the river bank. All this bafflegab was unnecessary, and what appears to be a fear-mongering attempt to get your point across!

Second, you did not appear to first gather information about each of the recyclers. Some serious questions should have been inquired by a journalist:

How much subsidization/grants has each of the recyclers received in the past to shore up their infrastructure?

How much diversion credits does each of the recyclers receive yearly? Are each of the recyclers efficient in the management of their business/organization operations? For example, the not-for-profit has a management staff, including an education coordinator, as well as several other professionals. The city has an environmental and a sustainability arm which also each have education as part of their mandate. Just how many education experts do we need?

Therefore, how much management costs are paid off the top for each processor? How much does it cost each recycler to divert a tonne of waste from the dump?

Are the processors using the cheapest empty trucks going southbound to ship recyclables or do they have their own buddy system? Why is the Yukon government taking so long to adopt better measures for waste management in the Yukon?

The Utilities Consumers’ Group submits that all these organizations/businesses are needed to do an adequate job, but fairness and a level playing field are also required. The city does not have to stick its nose into private enterprise that works.

They need only to provide the necessary diversion credits (from an environmental fund which is an extra charge above the full cost on our present solid waste bills) in a fair and equitable way! Then the Yukon government pays the difference, as many Yukoners use the Whitehorse facilities and the territory also has an environmental mandate.

Third, you appear to support the city’s proposed $15 increase, yet you do not tell the public that this amount will increase their monthly solid waste bill by more than double (residents presently pay $10.30 per month in garbage fees, including the environmental reserve fund charge).

Fourth, you denigrate those citizens who voluntarily haul their own recyclables to a processor so as to justify your need of a city-wide universal program to subsidize the city’s curbside plan. You fail to look at the lowest common denominator, i.e. those too lazy or too busy to divert such waste on their own. These citizens simply drive universal programs by the city.

To supplement your case you use scare tactics that one recycler will soon charge gate fees and that diversion credits will cease. Where and why do you get this information? Diversion credits are to keep our present dump site usable for a longer period of time, saving everyone money. So why should this stop?

And this is already partly paid for by the three per cent surcharge on our present garbage bills.

You fail to tell the public that the current system of waste pick-up and compost collection is not a truly user-pay system as the City also wants us to believe. Again it is driven by subsidizing the lowest common denominator. Some citizens have a full container, others half; some citizens utilize compost collection, others not; yet others do their own backyard composting. Some citizens prefer to recycle their own, and you and the city wish to punish them! Why not look at progressive programs, rather than always demanding regressive fees and taxation?

Finally, you assume that Whitehorse citizens are not responsible nor capable enough to voluntarily reduce, recycle and reuse, just as the many city branches preach.

Roger Rondeau heads the Utilities Consumers’ Group.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read