City and territory scramble to aid of recyclers

A city-wide curbside program is still in the works, it's just taking a little longer than expected, says Shannon Clohosey, manager of environmental sustainability with the City of Whitehorse.

A city-wide curbside program is still in the works, it’s just taking a little longer than expected, says Shannon Clohosey, manager of environmental sustainability with the City of Whitehorse.

Three Yukon companies have formally expressed interest in operating the service, which the city estimates will cost households $15 a month for weekly collection.

The city is currently working on a request for proposals and a contract for the service, said Clohosey.

“It’s very detailed, and we’re just really making sure we do our due diligence, and get it right.”

After that’s done, the three companies will have an opportunity to bid on the contract. That process will take several months, and it could be several months after that before equipment is secured and the service is up and running, said Clohosey.

The outcome of that process is likely to shape recycling in the territory well into the future.

At the moment, the recycling industry is in a bit of disarray, and both the city and the Yukon government are scrambling to help it to its feet.

The industry took a major hit when commodities prices crashed in 2008.

The territory’s largest processor, Raven Recycling, shut its public drop-off service in October because it could no longer cover the costs of shipping materials out.

That has only P&M to deal with the territory’s plastic, paper, glass and metal.

“It’s been a bit of a gong show, I’m not going to lie,” said P&M owner Pat McInroy in an interview this week.

“I think we’ve finally got our head above water now.”

Now the city and territory have announced they have found new money that they hope will get Raven back on its feet.

“It’s a good news story,” said McInroy. “We’re going to get a few extra dollars to get rid of a bunch of problematic things, and it’ll lighten the burden on us a little bit.”

The Yukon government has also promised up to $573,000 to support the processors in 2015/2016, two and a half times what was provided in the past year.

And, for the first time, instead of a straight per-tonne diversion credit, the amount of the credit will vary depending on the material. That makes sense because different materials cost different amounts to process, and fetch different amounts on the recycling markets Outside.

The City of Whitehorse has also chipped in, providing an additional $57,300 in diversion credits to recyclers this year, beyond its regular $150,000 funding cap for that program.

In addition, it has advanced the $150,00 set aside for 2016 diversion credits.

Hopefully that won’t mean there’s nothing left in 2016, said Mayor Dan Curtis in an interview this week.

“We’re really hoping that by then we’re going to have a long-term solution. Right now this is more of a short term,” he said.

This short-term plan also involves helping Raven and P&M Recycling deal with stockpiled material.

The Yukon government has chipped in $68,000 to ship out 400 tonnes of mixed plastics, which is one of the least valuable recyclable products.

And the City of Whitehorse has agreed to take on stockpiled mixed paper, to use in its composting program.

Recycling paper is certainly preferable to composting it, said Clohosey, but “since this has been stockpiled for a little while, it’s not in great shape anymore.”

The compost created from the paper will be a lesser grade, she said. It will be used for industrial and landscaping projects, rather than farms and gardens.

Raven has yet to announce if these new funding injections will be enough for it to reopen its drop-off service.

“They haven’t said definitively either way,” said Currie Dixon, minister of community services. “But they have reiterated the fact that it’s a board decision. It’s not up to one person, it’s the board that has to decide.

“For the Yukon government’s part, we’ve provided everything that has been asked of us by them. So from a financial point of view, we think that we’ve addressed their concerns, so we’re hopeful that that would mean that they would reopen their public drop-off.”

The territory also has new regulations in the works that will allow recyclers to collect more fees for processing beverage containers, tires and electronics.

That should help ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry, said Dixon.

While diversion credits were always intended as a stop-gap measure, the Yukon government might consider continuing them for some of the less valuable materials into the future, though those decisions have not been made yet, he said.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

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

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read