Allison Harper tosses a glass jar into the recycling bin at Raven Recycling in Whitehorse on Nov. 6. The Yukon’s recycling processors announced that as of Nov. 30, they will no longer be accepting non-refundable glass. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Trashin’ the glass: Yukon recyclers to stop accepting non-refundable items

Yukon recyclers will stop accepting non-refundable glass Nov. 30

The Yukon’s recycling processors have announced that as of Nov. 30, they will no longer be accepting non-refundable glass.

Think pickle jars, bottles of jam, maple syrup and so on.

“We have to increase our operational efficiencies,” Raven Recycling’s executive director Joy Snyder said at a Nov. 6 press conference about the changes.

She was joined by P&M Recycling owner Pat McInroy and Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling’s general manager Taylor Tiefenbach as well as territorial government and city officials at the press conference.

“It’s a tough time in the industry,” McInroy concurred.

The recyclers outlined the issues with commodity prices being significantly low, noting the need to scale things back and see where efficiencies could be found while still maintaining recycling options for Yukoners.

They stressed refundable glass bottles will continue to be accepted and the deposit paid back to customers, but non-refundable glass will no longer be accepted.

Ideally, Snyder said, Yukoners will reuse their glass bottles. But if they are getting rid of them the best way to do that is to put them in with regular trash that will be taken to the landfill, she said.

Local recyclers have accepted glass for years, though it never made its way to any glass recycling facilities — the nearest one being in Calgary — due to the high cost of shipping the heavy material.

Rather, glass coming in to local recyclers has been crushed, with much of it making its way up to the city landfill to be used as cover. It had been hoped that a local market for crushed glass could be found, but that has been fairly limited.

McInroy said he has a couple of customers who use crushed glass for sandblasting and making countertops, but the amount of glass purchased is minimal. Some of the crushed glass at his depot is about five years old, he said.

“Quite frankly, there’s not a big market,” he said.

McInroy estimated that on average P&M crushes about five cubic yards of glass into one cubic yard per day with 10 per cent of that amount coming from non-refundable bottles and jars.

Refundable glass will continue to be crushed and used for cover or sold, with those costs being covered by the beverage container regulations that consumers pay when they purchase the beverage.

Looking at where efficiencies could be made, glass made the most sense.

As Geoff Quinsey, manager of water and waste for the City of Whitehorse, explained, glass remains inert in the landfill and can be easily crushed.

Quinsey said ideally the glass bottles and jars would be kept out of the landfill, but it’s important to recognize the work recyclers are doing to keep everything they can from the general landfill.

By increasing efficiencies for recyclers through the elimination of non-refundable glass, they can continue their work ensuring other materials are recycled and stay out of the landfill.

As John Streicker, the territory’s minister of community services, said in a statement: “It is unfortunate that we cannot find a viable solution for glass locally, but we understand the need to have a sustainable recycling industry in Yukon.”

Snyder said that there had been some informal chats with officials at Lumel Studios in the past about the possibility of the glass-blowing studio using the glass coming into the recycling facilities, but it was learned that the recycled glass wouldn’t be conducive to glass blowing.

Lumel glass-blower Ankeeta Patal explained in an interview following the announcement that Lumel uses soft glass at its facility and once glass is shattered for recycling, a component called flux, which allows the glass to be clear, smooth and easier to shape, is diminished.

That’s not to say recycled glass can’t be used for glass blowing, but it would require a separate furnace and there would be limitations on what could be made with the recycled glass.

A glass blower, for example, could make a functional vase, but would not be able to make a goblet with the recycled glass.

There are also issues with the colour.

“It can not guarantee a clear colour,” she said.

Patal did note the studio reuses remnants of glass left on the furnace pipe during the glass-blowing process.

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

Recycling

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

The Boulevard of Hope was launched by the Yukon T1D Support Network and will be lit up throughout January. It is aimed at raising awareness about Yukoners living with Type 1 diabetes. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Boulevard of Hope sheds light on Type 1 diabetes

Organizers hope to make it an annual event

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

A Yukon survey querying transportation between communities has already seen hundreds of participants and is the latest review highlighting the territory’s gap in accessibility. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Multiple reports, survey decry lack of transportation between Yukon communities

A Community Travel survey is the latest in a slew of initiatives pointing to poor accessibility

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

Most Read