Community Services Minister John Streicker says the government is trying to make the solid waste system more sustainable. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file) John Streicker, Minister of Community Services, says the Yukon government is working on a number of recommendations regarding recycling and solid wastemanagement. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Yukon government eyes ways to cut garbage going to landfills

‘For our municipalities, this has been a real concern’

The Yukon government is already working on a number of recommendations around recycling and solid waste management, says John Streicker, Minister of Community Services.

The issue came up during the annual general meeting for the Association of Yukon Communities, which took place the weekend of May 12.

“I want to emphasize that this, for our municipalities, this has been a real concern,” Streicker told the News on May 15. “And they want to see real leadership on it.”

In response, Streicker said YG is working from recommendations made by the ministerial committee on solid waste, which published findings in April 2018.

“We have a lot of specific details,” he said of the report, which includes actions that can be completed this year, as well as longer-term actions that may play out over the next four or five years. “I took it to cabinet and got full support to move ahead on all recommendations.”

Key findings in the report include the high cost of waste management (the Yukon has 27 waste management facilities run at an annual cost of $10.5 million) and user fees.

“Users, industry, and governments, must pay a reasonable portion of the cost of the waste they generate if a sustainable system of management of solid waste is desired,” reads the report.

Streicker cited the Watson Lake dump, which instituted solid waste fees in 2014. Since then, he said the dump sees less waste on a per person basis.

Streicker did acknowledge there is no way of knowing whether this reduction is the result of diversion or illegal dumping. “There are always situations where there is illegal dumping,” he said.

As well, in 2014, following the introduction of fees at the Watson Lake dump, the News reported an uptick in waste being taken to the Upper Liard Dump, which was free.

Still, Streicker said he believes people are diverting their solid waste.

“When we have done this and put up a gate to some control, we almost always see that there is at first some reluctance and then usually over time it comes back,” he said. “It is our experience that when you test these things as much as you can, you generally get the same amount of compliance from one community to another.”

Streicker said some issues are more easily solved than others due to the unique circumstances in the North.

Composting, for example, is relatively simple. He said he was happy to see the City of Whitehorse introduce mandatory composting rules for businesses.

The question of what to do with e-waste and tires is a bigger one because of the economies of scale here, he said.

He also pointed to the issue of high-volume, low-value waste such as paper and plastics. He said he knows there are solutions out there, including reforming plastics into non-structural lumber for siding and decks.

He said he thinks solutions like this are feasible when considering that the Yukon has such great resources in the Yukon Innovation Hub, Cold Climate Innovation at Yukon College and individual businesses that have come up with ways of their own to reuse waste.

“This is about finding the facilities,” he said.

“I think we all need to sort of imagine that solid waste will always be an issue for us so this start is how to make the overall system more sustainable, more efficient,” he said. “But I think we should also imagine that it is a continuous work in progress.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Association of Yukon CommunitiesRecyclingYukon government

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

Just Posted

Two doctors in Watson Lake say they are at risk of losing their housing due to a Yukon Housing Corporation policy that only allows one pet per family. (Wikimedia Commons)
Healthcare workers in Watson Lake say housing pet policy could force them to leave

The Yukon Housing Corporation has threatened evictions for having more than one pet

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed for good say they were relieved to hear that the Yukon RCMP has undertaken a forensic audit into the now-defunct NGO’s financial affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former Many Rivers board members relieved to hear about forensic audit, wonder what took so long

Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed… Continue reading

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 21, 2020

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

Most Read