Raven Recycling employee Bill Venton, in yellow, demonstrates for media and officials how the new clothing baler works in Whitehorse on Feb. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Raven Recycling gets a textile baler

It will keep more second-hand materials out of landfills, spokespeople say

Roughly 165,000 kilograms of textiles have been diverted from landfills since 2017, and that work is set to continue at an even faster rate now that Raven Recycling has a new baler capable of packing old clothing and other materials into compact forms.

The idea is to ship more out of the territory to Vancouver, freeing up space in landfills and relieving a burden on second-hand stores and organizations.

“The more we divert from our landfills, the longer they last and the less it costs all of our municipalities and YG landfills,” said John Streicker, minister of the Department of Community Services, on Feb. 24 in front of the recycling depots latest addition. “Clothing is like mattresses. They take up a lot of space.

“It’s really sad to see all that clothing going into our landfills, and I know Yukoners don’t want to see that happen. We’ve been working to do something about it.”

The baler has been in operation since January. The government decided to postpone unveiling it to a later date due to the deep freeze earlier this year.

The Whitehorse Firefighters Charitable Society and Raven Recycling forged a partnership, deemed a “social enterprise,” in 2017. The purchase of the baler, which cost roughly $69,000, came out of that. The Yukon government provided $53,000 from its Community Development Fund.

Streicker said since that partnership was formed, 50 per cent of textiles have been diverted from landfills in the Yukon.

A recycling company in Vancouver is purchasing textiles from the Yukon, said Nicholas O’Carroll, of the charitable society.

Items like denim, he said, can be used for insulation, for instance.

O’Carroll said this company has been vetted and if organizers get wind that textiles aren’t being recycled, they will pull the plug.

“We don’t want it being thrown in landfills here, we don’t want it sent to Africa or Asia to be burnt in a landfill there,” he said.

There could be some savings involved. The News reached out to the department in order to get a potential figure but didn’t immediately receive a response.

O’Carroll said second-hand stores had to pay $100 per tonne of clothing to landfills in order to dispose of it.

“We saw three of them shut down, all in a row,” he said.

Selling textiles at this volume goes for $330 per tonne, according to Joy Snyder, executive director of Raven Recycling.

She called this “lucrative.”

“To put it into perspective, aluminum cans would be $770 a tonne,” Snyder said.

“It’s a really level commodity, whereas the other ones fluctuate,” she continued, referring to textiles.

Any money that is obtained from selling textiles is split down the middle between Raven Recycling and the firefighters’ charitable organization.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

Recycling

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