Compost corruption

What does a boat propeller, a propane tank and a bison hide have in common? They've all been found in the city's green compost bins. Those items and more were on display yesterday as the city announced it would start selling compost this weekend.

What does a boat propeller, a propane tank and a bison hide have in common?

They’ve all been found in the city’s green compost bins.

Those items and more were on display yesterday as the city announced it would start selling compost this weekend.

“It’s of the highest quality,” said Mayor Bev Buckway. “It’s a product created by Whitehorse citizens for Whitehorse citizens.”

With $400,000 in federal gas tax money the city built a facility for the program and got some new equipment, including a packer truck and a machine to package the compost in recyclable bags. Last year they used biodegradable burlap sacks.

The burlap was too ecofriendly, breaking down faster than anticipated.

Buckway found that out the hard way while taking one out of her car last year.

“The composting program has largely been a success, but there have been some problems,” said public works manager Dave Muir, referring to the pile of things people have tried to compost.

That included a computer hard drive, a car battery and a snowmobile ski.

Weeding those items out has to be done by hand, which takes time and money.

Also batteries and other toxic items can taint the compost itself.

“Not only does it effect the quality but there is equipment damage as well,” said Dan Jordan, who heads up the city’s composting program.

“We had 18 tire repairs last year from sharp metal objects,” he said. “The costs of operating the facility don’t need to be where they’re at if we could get a handle on this.”

“There’s a safety risk here as well,” added Muir, gesturing to the propane tank that someone put in a green bin.

“As the compost is working its way through it can get up to 70-degrees Celsius,” he said. “Somebody can get hurt here if these type of things keep going in.”

The city is working on an educating the public, but they are also looking at other ways to make people comply.

“We have cameras on board the packers and if they’re seeing areas that are a problem we’ll have to address that on an independent basis,” said Muir.

The compost goes on sale this Saturday.

A 25-pound bag costs $5, and can be picked up at the city dump’s gatehouse.

Contact Josh Kerr at

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