City puts final touches to curbside recycling contract

Despite some bumps in the road, the City of Whitehorse has announced that it is set to award the tender contract for its curbside recycling program this fall.

Despite some bumps in the road, the City of Whitehorse has announced that it is set to award the tender contract for its curbside recycling program this fall.

Announced last November, city officials had hoped to complete the planning by end of March, and start the program right away. But there have been a few setbacks.

“It’s taken a bit longer than we’ve expected because council really wants to make sure they do this right, so they’re proceeding very carefully and thoughtfully,” said Shannon Clohosey, the city’s environmental sustainability manager.

The Yukon government is planning on making changes to its beverage container regulations this fall, and the city would rather wait and see how that will impact the way recycling is funded, Clohosey said.

The concern around landfills filling up across the territory, as voiced by the Association of Yukon Territories this year, has also contributed to the delay in the curbside recycling program.

“The AYC is having discussions about a territory-wide solution and how waste management can be improved throughout the Yukon, and those discussions are ongoing,” Clohosey said.

The new recycling program is based on a report prepared by the engineering consultants Morrison Hershfield.

Their study estimated that Whitehorse households would pay $15 per month for weekly curbside recycling collection.

That money would cover both collection and processing of recyclable materials.

Last November, city councillors approved sole-sourcing the design contract to Morrison Hershfield for $100,000.

At the time, few details were available about which companies would be involved in the new program.

Clohosey said the city had issued a request for expressions of interest in January, the step aimed at gauging interest in a project.

Raven Recycling, P&M Recycling, PNW Waste Removal, Lanix Property Management and Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling all responded to the request, she said.

It’s too early to say how many of these companies will follow up with a bid on the contract. And once the contract is awarded, it could take up to a year for specialized recycling trucks to be delivered to the city.

Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling manager Taylor Tiefenbach said the company is preparing to put in a competitive bid for the contract.

Created in 2012, it originally serviced customers in Riverdale. Today, it picks up recycling in every Whitehorse neighbourhood, Tiefenbach said.

The company, which has just under 800 members, offers curbside pick-up of all household recyclables every two weeks for $20 a month. The recyclables are brought to P&M Recycling to be sorted and processed.

“It would definitely be a big change for us and quite an expansion, but I think we’re prepared to do it and it’s a challenge we think is worth doing,” he said.

The company recently changed its name from Yukon Blue Bin Recycling Society, its logo, and its website.

They also transitioned from being a non-profit to a regular business. Tiefenbach said it’s because a regular business model gives them easier access to credit, and should help them remain self-sufficient as they move into new markets such as business and commercial collections, as well as multi-residential units.

“We don’t receive government grants so maintaining a cost-effective service is important to us,” he said.

The City of Whitehorse also announced that by the end of June, waste diversion at the landfill was up to 33 per cent. It plans on diverting at least 50 per cent of waste from the landfill by the end of the year.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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