New waste plan before council

Changes could be coming to how Whitehorse takes out its trash. The new solid waste action plan was presented to city council Monday night. It describes how to reduce the amount of waste heading to the city's dump.

Changes could be coming to how Whitehorse takes out its trash.

The new solid waste action plan was presented to city council Monday night. It describes how to reduce the amount of waste heading to the city’s dump. The city wants to halve the amount of material heading to the facility by 2015.

Only about 40 years are left in the city’s dump if the present level of use continues. Whitehorse residents are producing 37 per cent more waste per person than they did in 2000. Previous estimates pegged its life at 77 years. It would cost $13.5 million to close the facility and another $13.7 million to open a new one.

“Either we pay now, or we pay later,” Shannon Clohosey, city manager of environmental sustainability, said this week. Parts of the plan could begin this fall.

The plan includes a pilot project to have the city collect compost from some apartment or condo buildings, said Clohosey.

Right now, people who live in these buildings have to take their compost to the landfill themselves. The goal is to eventually have a private company handle all compost pickup at these locations, said Clohosey.

The project could begin as early as October, with more residences and businesses added on in the spring.

And another pilot project could be coming to some country residential neighbourhoods this fall, too. The plan right now is to build a structure where residents could put their garbage and compost. The city would then pick up the garbage and compost and drive it to the landfill, said Clohosey. Details, such as what neighbourhoods will be targeted, are still being worked out, she said.

Most material in the landfill doesn’t come from residents, said Clohosey. Businesses and construction contribute the most waste. Combined, wood and cardboard make up over 20 per cent of material in the dump, the city’s administration report says. So the plan also includes making it illegal to dump these materials at the landfill.

It will cost $50,000 to start putting the plan into practice this year. Council will vote on whether or not to approve the plan, and the needed funds, on Monday.

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