A City of Whitehorse compost bin in a residential area on Dec. 12, 2019. Whitehorse residents living in apartment buildings, townhouse complexes and any other type of housing that has five or more units will also have their own green bins in 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Compost program coming to apartments, townhouses and condos

The program will be phased in in three parts

Whitehorse residents living in apartment buildings, townhouse complexes and any other type of housing with five or more units can expect to do a little more composting in 2020.

That’s when the city will implement organics collection for all multi-unit residential properties in three phases.

Zone 1 — most of the city with the exception of Riverdale and Downtown — will be added in January. Zone 2 — Riverdale — will join the program in March and Zone 3 — Downtown — will join in June.

Katherine Sandiford, the city’s environmental coordinator, said in a Dec. 12 interview that 33 multi-unit residences are already part of a pilot program the city started a few years ago, with 115 being added to the mandatory program in 2020.

That means a total of more than 2,000 homes where individual residents are set to receive the city’s “kitchen catcher” where they will put their organics. Stickers on each “kitchen catcher” will detail what’s to go in. Each housing complex will get its own larger cart (or more depending on the number of units) for collection each week.

The green carts will cost $35 per month with each additional cart to cost $30 per month. Larger apartment and condo complexes also have the option of a two or three-yard green bin. The two-yard bins cost $250 per month with the three-yard units costing $280 each month.

“Expectations are for everyone to participate,” Sandiford wrote in a email. “… diverting your organics to the compost facility has to be one of the best things Whitehorse residents can do to address climate change right now. When you mix organics in the general garbage at the landfill, it creates a lot of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.”

She went on to note it also produces leachate, which can contaminate groundwater. Diversion, she continued, prolongs the life of the landfill, thus saving the city (i.e. taxpayers) money.

Sandiford said the city has learned a lot from the pilot program, including the importance of making it easy and efficient for residents to compost.

That means compost carts and green bins will be as close to dumpsters as possible so that residents can simply take their garbage and compost out to the same spot.

A major education component will also be part of the campaign to let people know what to expect in the coming year. Posters are being put up.

“We’re just plastering the world (with posters) right now,” Sandiford said.

Information on the city’s organics program can be found on the city’s website.

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

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