Raven Recycling’s drop-off area is surrounded by a temporary fence in Whitehorse on April 15, due to its COVID-19-related closure. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

City won’t enforce rules around cardboard disposal

Cardboard can be thrown in trash, but residents encouraged to store it if they can

The City of Whitehorse will not enforce a regulation requiring cardboard to be kept out of household waste.

At Whitehorse city council’s April 14 meeting, members voted to suspend the enforcement of that section of the Waste Management Bylaw until one month after the public health emergency declared in light of COVID-19 has been rescinded.

The decision comes after council had deferred a decision on the matter at a special meeting on April 9.

There, members highlighted work over the years to keep cardboard out of the landfill and pointed to concerns brought forward from Raven Recycling (which has been closed to public drop-off since March 25 due to COVID-19), with many stating their desire to look at ways of storing cardboard for the time being.

Council learned at the April 14 session that no such solution has been found.

Peter O’Blenes, the city’s director of infrastructure and operations, said while the city and Raven had worked through the day to find a solution that hasn’t happened yet.

“In the meantime, administration’s highest concern with respect to operation of the Waste Management Facility is public health and staff safety,” he said.

The city had focused on reducing traffic at the landfill with the removal of recycling bins and allowing residents to put recyclables into their black garbage bins, but traffic into the landfill actually increased over the long weekend. Typically, there would be about 60 vehicles coming in over the weekends in early April, but this year there were 150.

In an interview following the April 14 meeting, O’Blenes said it’s not clear why so many were dropping off waste at the landfill — whether it’s that black bins are filling up more quickly or more people are home and perhaps getting some spring cleaning done or for a variety of other reasons.

O’Blenes pointed out in his report there could be areas to stockpile cardboard in certain parts of the landfill, but there’s concerns around cross-contamination and risks due to heavy equipment working in the area.

“During the present closure of the recycling processors, the likelihood that incoming waste loads will surpass the 10 per cent threshold is extremely high,” he said. “The outcome, if the waste processors are assessed the associated penalty, is that those costs will be passed along to the customers, creating additional financial pressure during the current COVID crisis.”

While council members remained clear they want to continue working with Raven to come up with a solution that will help keep cardboard out of the landfill, they also agreed that until a solution is found, enforcing the regulations around cardboard in the landfill will have to be suspended.

“Public health and safety have to come first,” Coun. Dan Boyd said.

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu pointed to the “unprecedented circumstances” and encouraged residents who are able, to store recyclables until they can once again go to recycling processors.

Others voiced their agreement with the temporary bylaw change as well.

In an April 14 interview prior to the council meeting, Raven executive director Joy Snyder highlighted the multi-year efforts to keep cardboard out of the landfill, stating she’d like to see cardboard continue to be separated.

While Raven isn’t open to the public, she said it is continuing to collect commercial cardboard, commercial paper and the area for electronic waste drop off remains open. Those are materials that do not have to be directly handled by staff.

At the same time, officials are exploring how it might be able to reopen with restrictions in place that protect staff.

Along with physical distancing protocols, officials are trying to figure out a way to process recycling without having staff handle it for a certain period of time.

Discussions between the city and Raven on the cardboard issue are expected to continue.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

CoronavirusRecyclingWhitehorse city council

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read