The Yukon government plans to spend an additional $273,200 on recycling programs this year.
The funding boost more than doubles the existing recycling budget, to $518,200 from $245,000.
Of the new money, $75,000 will go towards recycling and composting programs in Yukon schools. The school fund would offer about $2,500 to each school.
The rest of the money will go towards increasing the core funding of some recycling operators, buying recycling equipment, and paying for the transportation costs of shipping recyclables from Yukon communities to Whitehorse.
It’s still unclear how most of the new money will be divvied up. That decision will be made “shortly,” after the government meets with recycling depot operators, said a media release issued by the Environment department.
The spending announcement, made October 20, marks “waste reduction week” — and comes just three days before the next sitting of the legislature, which begins Thursday.
The money is sorely needed, said Steve Cardiff, the NDP’s MLA for Mount Lorne.
As a result, some depot volunteers have to resort to driving recyclables to Whitehorse on their own dime, he said.
The way that recyclables are shipped to Whitehorse will be overhauled, states the release.
Various shipping companies, hired by local depots but paid by the government, currently haul recyclables. Their rates vary, and currently, there’s no incentive for local depots to go with the lowest rate, the release states.
These shipping contracts will soon be put up for public tender. The government will continue to pay shippers directly.
The Mile 9 recycling depot in Cardiff’s riding is one of the “innovative” operations that continue to be underfunded, he said.
Since the spring, the society that runs the Mile 9 depot has called for its budget to be doubled, to $24,000 from $12,000.
The increase would be in line with how much money is given to other operations, such as the Marsh Lake depot, which is located in Education Minister Patrick Rouble’s riding.
To date, Mile 9 has yet to hear a reply from the government, said Cardiff.
They’re still awaiting the completion of a government report, he said.
Recycling in the territory could be improved in more ways than spending more money, said Cardiff.
Recycling duties currently span several government departments.
Waste management falls under Community Services, while recycling falls under Environment.
The Finance department, meanwhile, sets the prices of refunded beverage containers.
These departments need to work together more closely, said Cardiff.
And the burning of garbage at community dumps needs to stop, he said.
Such burning makes the air unhealthy to breathe.
“That’s not good for our environment,” he said.