Tips and Tools
Developing a system that works best for you, your family and staff is key to waste diversion. Here are some tips on creating a successful waste diversion program.
infrastructure (containers, bins and carts)
Waste diversion works best as a one-stop-shop sorting station. Creating easy access to sorting is one of the first steps to increasing your waste diversion.
You are required to sort: organics, cardboard, metals, clean wood, appliances, electronic waste and hazardous waste. Check out our new Waste Sorting Guide and Organics Sorting Guide. Click and print copies for your home and office.
Clear, to-the-point signs with labels increases the success of your waste strategy. Feel free to print and use these signs, or make your own. Make sure your signage is placed where it is easy for people to see.
As the City of Whitehorse works towards 50% less and zero waste 2050, good things are happening. Whitehorse citizens are increasing their diversion efforts through recycling and composting. Our diversion rate per capita is increasing steadily over the last 5 years and is at a current rate of 33%.
Diversion of organic waste is also on an upswing—we diverted over 2700 tonnes in 2021, and it looks like we’ll surpass this in 2022! Much of this success can be attributed to our local businesses and organizations participating in our new commercial collection program.
The flip side of diverting organic waste is creating nutrient rich compost, right up at our Waste Management Facility. Our black gold has been selling like hotcakes and we’ve hardly been able to keep up with demand!
Our compost is also being put to good use on City properties. Past projects include:
Sustainable Communities Award
Our Solid Waste Action Plan (SWAP) received a prestigious Sustainable Communities Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in 2014.
Bylaw and policies
The City of Whitehorse has a responsibility, on behalf of citizens, to ensure that waste management is handled as professionally and efficiently as possible. Waste management costs are closely reviewed and allocated based on activity (landfill, compost and recycling). The 2021 net cost of waste management in Whitehorse was approximately $4 million (this includes the cost of residential curbside collection).
Waste Management Cost Recovery Policy
The Waste Management Cost Recovery Policy establishes a fee structure for waste management services that accounts for the full cost of providing those services. Whitehorse operates under a user-pay system, meaning that no tax dollars are used to manage waste. Those who make the waste pay for the waste. As per the policy, tipping fees are calculated to cover the cost of collection, processing, treatment, monitoring, diversion and/or disposal services for solid waste. Costs associated with landfill closure and ongoing monitoring are also included. Residents in town pay for curbside collection service through utility fees, which include both the tipping fee as well as the collection fee. Residents without curbside collection pay tipping fees at the Waste Management facility. The 2021 net cost of waste management in Whitehorse was approximately $4 million.
fees and charges bylaw
The Fees and Charges Bylaw is where you can find up to date tipping fees charges at the waste management facility. This bylaw includes all charges the City of Whitehorse has, so for convenience sake, here is a list of all current tipping fees.
Waste management cost recovery policy
The Waste Management Cost Recovery Policy establishes a fee structure for waste management services that accounts for the full cost of providing those services. Whitehorse operates under a user-pay system, meaning that no tax dollars are used to manage waste. Those who make the waste pay for the waste. As per the policy, tipping fees are calculated to cover the cost of collection, processing, treatment, monitoring, diversion and/or disposal services for solid waste. Costs associated with landfill closure and ongoing monitoring are also included. Residents in town pay for curbside collection service through utility fees, which include both the tipping fee as well as the collection fee. Residents without curbside collection pay tipping fees at the Waste Management facility. The 2014 net cost of waste management in Whitehorse was approximately $2.2 million.
solid waste diversion credit policy
The Solid Waste Diversion Credit Policy offers Whitehorse recycling organizations financial credit for solid waste diversion through recycling efforts. Diversion credits of $75/tonne are paid quarterly for eligible material, up to a maximum of $150,000/year.
We’ve all seen it at one time or another: garbage, old appliances, broken TVs, mattresses and other waste items dumped in the bush. Even old freezer meat seems to be “fair game.” We know dumping our waste in the wilderness is wrong, but for some reason, that last point seems to escape some of us. Unfortunately, illegal dumping, also known as “fly tipping,” is a common problem in many Canadian municipalities, including Whitehorse.
Illegal dumping means not taking proper responsibility for waste, and includes:
impacts of Illegal dumping on our environment
Illegal dumping not only ruins the natural beauty around us, but also pollutes the environment when electronic waste, hazardous waste and other items containing heavy metals and toxics are left exposed to the elements.
Not acceptable in our wilderness city
Illegal dumping costs us all.
The truth is, illegal dumping is wrong whether it is in our rivers, forests or someone else’s bin. Proper disposal of our waste is one of many important parts of the City’s waste management plan, and our goal of 50% waste diversion and zero waste by 2050. Composting, source separating and putting waste where it belongs is one of the best ways to do the right thing, reduce the burden and cost on our landfill and environment, and get us closer to 50%.
report illegal dumping 667-2111
Help keep Yukon wild by reporting illegal dump sites within City limits to Bylaw Services at 667-2111, or to Environment Yukon’s TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525 for dump sites beyond municipal jurisdiction. Whitehorse citizens and community groups are also working to stop illegal dumping. The City thanks these groups for their hard work and commitment to a cleaner and greener Whitehorse.
Signs have been installed at some known illegal dumping areas, and we’re encouraging residents to call Bylaw Services (667-2111) to report illegal dumping. The City is also increasing monitoring and public education efforts, and exploring the use of portable cameras.
Dangerous and explosive materials are not accepted at the Waste Management Facility. Please be aware when dealing with explosives. Contact the RCMP at 667-5555 if you need help identifying explosive materials.
History on Whitehorse Waste Management
Standard practices in waste management have changed drastically over the years, and continue to do so as science and technology advances, and as social norms evolve. We’ve come a long way in Whitehorse.
All waste was simply thrown off the cliff into McIntyre Creek. This practice continued until the early 1990s.
The War Eagle Pit (an old copper mine) was used to landfill the City’s waste. In 1989 a group of volunteers from Yukon Conservation Society started collecting and recycling aluminium cans from the public.
Waste continued to be thrown off the cliff into McIntyre Creek until the current landfill was built. Raven Recycling Society was started in 1990 as a non-profit social enterprise. In 1992 Yukon Government developed one of the first Beverage Container Regulations in the country, placing a surcharge on beverage containers to pay for the handling and processing of listed materials. Whitehorse’s first Solid Waste Action Plan was adopted in 1995. P&M Recycling was started in 1996 as a for-profit recycling depot offering recycling services to the public. Scales were installed at the Waste Management Facility in 1998, providing the first accurate weight-based data to track annual landfilled waste based on origin. That same year a volunteer curbside organics collection program was started. Tipping fees were implemented in 1999.
A neighborhood organics collection program was piloted in 2001, and City-wide curbside organics collection began in 2002. Recognizing the toxic legacy that landfills impose upon the environment, landfill closure liability (LCL) requirements were established by the Public Sector Accounting Board in 2004. The LCL is money set aside each year to pay for the clean-up and final closure of our current landfill. The yearly LCL dollar amount is directly correlated with the volume of waste landfilled. In 2007 the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan was adopted, recognizing the importance of waste management and recommended a Zero Waste target by 2040. Discussions with Council and Yukon Government identified a 50% waste reduction goal by 2015 as a short-term target. The City started operating the compost facility in 2008. In 2009 black and green curbside carts came to Whitehorse, enabling the City to automate collection.
In 2010 the Whitehorse Waste Management Facility became a regional site, taking in waste from incorporated and non-incorporated communities within the area around Whitehorse as far south as Teslin. The current SWAP was adopted in 2013 and waste management identified as a strategic priority. Waste diversion started to increase. Cardboard and clean wood were banned from the landfill in 2014, and in 2015 commercial organic waste was also banned. In 2017 the Whitehorse Blue Bin recycling program began in collaboration with Raven Recycling. In 2019 the commercial organics program began for food services and multi-unit complexes.
In 2021 the single use plastic bag ban began. More businesses and food services are added to the commercial organics program.