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Territory offers Whitehorse $2.4M to help start curbside recycling program

City has unanswered questions as funding is announced
The City of Whitehorse is investigating curbside recycling as the Yukon government offers $2.4 million to help start the service. (Black Press Files)

The territorial government is backing curbside recycling pickup in Whitehorse with a contribution of $2.4 million over the next two years. The money is set to offset the costs of implementing a new municipal recycling program. How exactly that service will be delivered is unclear as the city says it has been left with questions about the territory’s waste management plans.

According to a Feb. 27 announcement from the Yukon government, the money recognizes the significant financial burden starting such a program would have for Whitehorse residents as a plan for recycling is made following the reduction of services provided by Raven ReCentre, formerly Raven Recycling.

“This financial support from the Government of Yukon is intended to cover up to half of the City of Whitehorse’s curbside recycling collection and cover the material processing costs. This two-year investment will support curbside pickup until Extended Producer Responsibility [EPR] regulation is adopted in 2025, to a maximum of $2.4 million over two years,” the announcement reads.

Per correspondence between Whitehorse Mayor Laura Cabott and Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn, the city was informed of the funding promise in a late January letter from the minister.

Cabott’s reply, sent Feb. 13, asks questions about the future of regulations as the territory moves towards expended producer responsibility regulations that would shift the costs of recycling from taxpayers to the companies that produce packaging, paper products and other materials.

It asks how the city will be consulted in the development of stewardship planning and if the territorial government would be restricted from making the curbside plan a requirement.

“Any certainty with respect to the content of the regulation or other assurances you or your colleague Minister Clarke can provide would greatly aid council in making an informed decision whether or not to implement a curbside recycling program for packaging and paper products before an EPR program is operational,” Cabott writes.

The city says the mayor’s questions remain unanswered.

A City of Whitehorse representative told the News that the city is working closely with industry to explore how curbside recycling could be brought in over the next 18 months as the territory rolls out the producer responsibility. The city’s email reply to questions from the News states that more information from the minister will help the city better understand costs to users and other factors regarding curbside recycling service.

“I am pleased to offer this financial contribution to support the mayor and council as they consider their bold vision for a sustainable future in Yukon’s largest municipality. Curbside recycling is an important part of municipal solid waste services that increases a community’s environmental sustainability and diverts waste from landfills, which are costly to operate and decommission,” Mostyn says, as quoted in the funding announcement.

He says future curbside collection would be a major environmental benefit that the territory is happy to back, offsetting the costs for Whitehorse citizens.

Cabott’s letter to Mostyn expresses appreciation for the government’s support of the recycling program as well as hope that the extended producer responsibility regulation will support the diversion of waste from landfills.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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