What’s a recycler worth?

Raven Recycling has teamed up with a Vancouver credit union to determine how valuable the non-profit is to the Yukon.

Raven Recycling has teamed up with a Vancouver credit union to determine how valuable the non-profit is to the Yukon.

The recycling depot wants to pin a dollar figure to its community worth and tell residents its impact on public finances and the environment.

VanCity, a BC-based credit union, and five other funders solicited Raven’s involvement in the Demonstrating Value Project, a research collaboration that studies the public influence of social enterprises.

Raven has been taking people’s garbage for a while and it was time to take a step back for self-evaluation, said executive director Joy Snyder.

“We’ve been around for 15 years so, whatever we’re doing, we’re doing right,” said Snyder.

“There must be some value if we’ve been around for so long.”

Social enterprises have financial objectives, but with a social or environmental mission, said Bryn Sadownik, VanCity project co-ordinator.

Ensuring the success of such endeavours benefits communities and sets precedents for new enterprises, she added.

But resources can be slim.

“There are lots of tools to look at the financial side of projects, but not a lot to describe their societal value,” said Sadownik.

“But we can demonstrate their worth and bring more support and make the case for more investment.”

Sadownik is in Whitehorse studying Raven’s operation for preliminary research.

At Raven, researchers will look at the financial impact on taxpayers, from its 20 employees to the effect of diverting tons of garbage from the city’s landfill.

Residents do not pay for the service through taxes as they do in other cities.

“Raven bears the cost,” said Snyder.

“We make our money as a business. We have no core funding from governments.”

Contracts and bottles subsidize the operation, which includes public education programs, she added.

The goal for any enterprise is self-sufficiency, and any profits made at Raven are sunk back into the business.

Raven was chosen for its northern location and unique mandate.

Researchers consider it an unusual social enterprise because it’s a non-profit that is run like a business.

Its longevity was attractive, too, said Sadownik.

“Raven Recycling has been operating for 15 years and there is plenty of experience it could bring into the project,” she said.

Eight enterprises were chosen for the pilot project, including a café in Vancouver’s downtown East Side that employs drug addicts looking to get back on their feet.

Researchers hope the final results and framework can be applied to new emerging and established enterprises across Canada.

“We’ll end up with a set of tools that any social enterprise can use,” said Sadownik.

Raven utilizes its results to secure funding and support from finance organizations and government institutions.

But Raven is also hoping the results will help residents understand the importance of the enterprise to the community, a task that hasn’t always been easy.

Past campaigns like Stark Raven Mad were moderately successful so there’s still a need for Raven to make its case to the public, said Snyder.

“There is competition (in Whitehorse) and you want to get out there and tell people why they should use Raven,” she said.

The success of Raven can be motivating, said Snyder.

“If we can say, ‘Hey, look at this thing we got up and running,’ other people can see that and start their own enterprises,” she said.

Preliminary project results are expected in May.

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading


Wyatt’s World for June 18, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read