Changes to Yukon recycling regulations mean money for milk jugs

Consumers will now pay 10-cent deposits on milk containers, get a nickel back

Glass bottles at Raven Recycling. Containers for milk and milk substitutes are now refundable. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Returning your milk jugs to the local recycling depot will now net you a nickel.

About a year after they were originally going to be introduced, the Yukon’s new beverage container regulations are now the law of the land.

For the first time the regulations include containers for milk and milk substitutes like almond milk.

Those containers will now have a 10-cent surcharge added to them at checkout. Shoppers get five cents back if they return the container to a recycling depot.

“We are also catching up to most other justifications in Canada which do have milk containers in their beverage container recycling program,” said Sarah Chan, the acting manager of standards and approvals for Environment Yukon.

The new regulations have been simplified, putting all beverage containers into three categories.

Beverage containers other than milk that are less than 750 ml also have a 10-cent surcharge with a five-cent refund. Beverage containers of exactly 750 ml or more come with a 35-cent surcharge and a 25-cent refund.

In the old regulations that higher surcharge was reserved for containers of a litre or more, Chan said.

Money collected from these surcharges goes to the territory’s recycling fund. That’s the money that is supposed to pay for getting recyclables out of the territory.

Yukon’s Department of Community Services, which manages the fund, couldn’t say by deadline how much money the changes are expected to add to the fund.

“While all of the fund is used for recycling, costs aren’t 100 per cent covered — it’s not yet self-sustaining,” spokesperson Amanda Couch wrote in an email.

“Depending on the beverage container type, the consumer-paid non-refundable surcharge covers 40 to 96 per cent of the cost.”

The territorial and municipal governments pay recyclers diversion credits to help make up the difference.

Joy Snyder, the executive director of Raven Recycling, said adding milk containers to the Yukon’s system is progress.

“It increases the number of containers that are part of a system that pays for the recycling of the material and that’s what we’ve been asking all along,” she said.

Snyder said “number two” plastic jugs like the ones used for milk are “very easy to get rid of.” That plastic is bought by a company in Vancouver that breaks it down into chips and sends it around the world to be made into other things, she said.

But along with the more lucrative plastics, the recyclers will also be getting containers that Raven has to pay to get rid of, she said.

“In this case we get good number two plastic but we’re also going to get a lot of Tetra Paks and wax milk cartons.”

Last year the former Yukon Party government announced it was postponing amending two sets of recycling regulations to consult with industry.

The next group of regulations slated to get updated is the territory’s designated materials regulation, which will add surcharges on tires, electronics and electrical products. Those regulations will be implemented on Feb. 1, 2018.

Snyder said some customers arrived at Raven on August 1 with milk containers they had been saving up to get the five cent refund.

She’s expecting to see more of that after the rest of the territory’s regulations take effect.

“Wait until e-waste comes in, because everyone has been saving that old computer in their closet.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

RecyclingYukon government

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

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read