(Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Sort those recyclables

The mills that receive our recyclables are getting pickier

Raven Recycling has been feeling the effects of China’s “green fence” and here is what that means for Yukon recyclers. Similar to 2008, the North American recycling markets have become unpredictable.

China is once again enforcing regulations to make sure that North American recycling materials going to China have less than a 0.3-per cent contamination rate. Materials get dirty when they are not sorted properly or include non-recyclable materials. It also occurs when paper materials are wet and plastic materials are covered in food residue.

Before materials leave for China, the North American recycling mills inspect the loads and send dirty materials off to a landfill. If Raven sends dirty product, we will pay the landfill tipping fees and our product may not be accepted by the mill the next time.

In order to make sure that our materials will be accepted by the recycling mills in Vancouver and Tacoma, we are working with Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling (WBBR) and asking all our customers to help keep our contamination levels as low as possible.

First, please make sure your container is recyclable by checking the Raven website.

Second, we are asking the public to consistently clean foodstuffs out of all containers before bringing them to Raven or putting them out for collection by the WBBR. This will help ensure food will not contaminate the plastic and paper products

Third, as of Jan. 2, 2018, customers of WBBR will be asked to sort their recycling into two streams: a dry paper stream and a clean container stream. WBBR will be offering their customers a reusable fibre bag for their paper products to make the separation easier and help reduce the number of plastic bags handled by Raven staff. Sorting at Raven’s public drop off will remain the same.

Finally, sorting is more important than ever. Raven customers are asked to check the signage to ensure you are placing your items in the correct bunkers. WBBR will be providing information on their website about their new two-stream system. Plastic bags (film plastic) should be collected in a larger plastic bag and tied securely. This helps the sorting process in Raven’s warehouse.

To date, we have been successful in weathering the many ups and downs of the recycling markets thanks to the commitment of the community and the support of government. On behalf of WBBR and Raven staff, I would like to thank Yukoners for helping ensure our recycling gets to market.

Joy Snyder

Executive director, Raven Recycling Society

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