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Why is Waste Diversion Important?
Reducing waste in our landfill.
Waste diversion means diverting materials to be reused, recycled, or composted, instead of being buried in the landfill.
To achieve diversion, materials need to be sorted into different categories. This is because materials lose their value when they are mixed together. Waste materials that are sorted retain their value and can be reuse or made into new products - saving valuable resources, energy, and money.
Separating materials like metals, organic waste, electronic, and hazardous waste from general waste, allows them to be diverted from the landfill and helps to protect our environment from contaminated run-off that is known as toxic leachate.
Learn how to separate your waste using the new Waste Sorting Guide.
Whitehorse Solid Waste Action Plan (SWAP)
It's about finding balance.
With the input of stakeholders, the City created a Solid Waste Action Plan (SWAP) in keeping with common North American waste-related practices. Adopted by City Council in 2013 and identified as a strategic priority, the SWAP has an initial goal of 50% waste diversion and Zero Waste by 2040.
The SWAP, which puts responsibility on individuals to sort their waste, is based on a combination of public education, financial incentives (differential tipping fees) and material bans at the landfill. In 2014 the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recognized Whitehorse and the SWAP with a prestigious Sustainable Communities Award.
Learn more about the SWAP at Whitehorse.ca/swap
Diversion Goal Meter
The City's Solid Waste Action Plan has an initial goal of
50% waste diversion from the landfill and Zero Waste by 2040.
What you need to know
We can do better
The days of dumping and burning our waste, recyclables and compostables are over. Whitehorse is working towards diverting as much of our waste as possible from our landfill. Some Canadian cities are already successfully diverting 50% or more of their waste. The faster we get there the less costly waste will be over the long term. How?
Make it personal
Whitehorse residents are smart, problem-solving citizens. Given the right information and infrastructure, changes can be made and actions taken to support increased waste diversion.
Whitehorse residents are recycling more than ever. As of the end of June 2015, waste diversion is up to 33%. That is a 14% increase from just 2012.
Your garbage = your responsibility
All Whitehorse residents, businesses and organizations have a role to play—“be a good sort” and sort your waste!
Electronic waste (also known as e-waste), hazardous waste, large metal items, cardboard, organic waste, bulky items, tires and construction & demolition waste do not belong with regular waste and are not welcome in the landfill. These items, which are designated as controlled or banned under the Waste Management Bylaw, must be sorted and handled separately. They are subject to an unsorted tipping fee ($250/tonne) if not separated from regular waste.
Let's redefine garbage, together
The City is working to help make waste diversion easier for everyone. We have come a long way, but we need to work to ensure our waste is not really a resource being thrown away.
Organic waste has value
Whitehorse residents food and yard waste is processed at the City of Whitehorse's composting facility into rich, high quality compost and topsoil that is available for purchase to add to your garden and lawn. Composting our food and yard waste makes a valuable product out of something that would normally cause pollution.
Tipping fees for organic waste are just a third of the price of regular waste. Separating your organics is one of the best ways to do the right thing, reduce the burden and cost on our landfill, and gets the City closer to 50% diversion.
status quo has costs
Based on current annual volumes of waste, it is estimated there are just 39 years of space left in our landfill. In 2014, Whitehorse landfilled over 28,000 tonnes of waste — this amounts to over 900 kg for every man, woman and child.
Redefining our garbage is important because it delays landfill closure, giving us more time to cover the City's Landfill Closure Liability (LCL). 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. The less we throw in, the more time there is to pay the estimated $13 million it will cost to properly close and indefinitely monitor the landfill.
Rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling is the bottom line
Rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling our waste materials will minimize waste generation and maximize resource recovery to achieve the greatest possible resource diversion.
Rethink our wilderness
There are certain things that are just a part of life in the north. Living in Whitehorse means being conscious of the wilderness at our doorstep and adjusting our behaviour accordingly. It also means re-thinking some old ideas about wilderness, especially when it comes to waste diversion.
the wilderness city
Whitehorse residents know that we're in on a secret. We live on the doorstep of wild, rugged and untamed wilderness, yet we enjoy all the amenities and benefits of a much larger city. We have lots of space in which to live, work and play, but we also have a collective responsibility to protect what we love. Whitehorse is our Wilderness City, and we want to keep it that way.
Waste in our backyard
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.
Illegal dumping is wrong whether it is in our rivers, forests or someone else's waste bin. It 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.
wildlife at your doorstep
Whitehorse is the Wilderness City, and for good reason. We are surrounded for thousands of kilometers with pristine wilderness, home to wildlife large and small. While many Canadians in the south can only hope to catch a glimpse of a bear while on vacation somewhere else, we're trying to reduce human-animal interactions where we live, work and play. With this incredible gift of living in close proximity to wilderness comes the collective responsibility to keep it wild. An important part of keeping our wilderness wild is properly managing our compostables, recyclables and waste, as well as other "attractants".
Garbage costs, but sometimes we can make it pay
You may not like filing, making the payments or ensuring your waste gets diverted, but you know it's part of running a business, so you do it. However, do the diversion thing right and it might actually pay you.
waste costs money
One way or another, processing waste costs money. The more waste we send to our landfill, the more costs we will incur in the long run as it fills up. By implementing a regulatory framework that acknowledges those costs up front and recognizes that waste doesn't have to be garbage when properly sorted, we can avoid some of those long-term costs. At the same time, we shift the costs of inefficient disposal onto those who choose not to take the basic steps required for responsible waste management.
diversion can save you money
Tipping fees for landfilled waste are drastically higher than compostable and recyclable waste. By lightening your waste bin you won't need a large dumpster serviced weekly - ask your hauler to scale back services (and price).
A Whitehorse multi-family corporation was able to reduce their waste services by 50% and costs by 30% by separating out the recycling, compost and waste. Not only are they saving money but they are also in compliance with the City of Whitehorse's requirements.
recyclables return value
Don't pay to landfill bottles and cans when you can recycle them for cash and reduce your waste load. Make a recycling fund and save up for a staff pizza or Christmas party.
Recycling our waste stimulates our economy. Items you recycle are sold on the market, bringing money and new jobs to the community.
Waste Sorting App
Try our electronic app below! Alternatively download the 2020 schedule here.
Sorting your waste is easy with our What Goes Where app. Type the name of an item into the search bar and we will give you recycling, composting, or disposal options.
Follow these easy instructions to download the app to your phone or mobile device.
Waste Management Facility
What is the WMF? What happens there?
We’re not just trying to sound posh: the Waste Management Facility really is much more than a landfill! In addition to the landfill, there’s the compost facility, and transfer stations for compost, e-waste, metals, tires, large appliances, construction and demolition, clean wood, bulky items, cardboard, plastics, paper, glass and tin.
Why is it important to separate your waste?
Separating your waste means keeping materials out of the landfill that can be reused, recycled or composted instead. Unsorted waste that is thrown away is a lost opportunity. Waste materials that are sorted retain their value and can be recycled into new products, saving valuable resources, energy and money. Keep materials like metal, organic waste, electronics and hazardous waste from the landfill also helps to protect our environment from contaminated run-off that is known as toxic leachate.
Separating your waste is also important because it delays landfill closure, giving us more time to cover the City’s Landfill Closure Liability (LCL). 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. The less we throw in, the more time there is to pay the estimated $13 million it will cost to properly close and indefinitely monitor the landfill.
Based on current annual volumes of waste, it is estimated there are just 39 years of space left in our landfill. All over the country, communities are reducing costs by source-separating their waste and diverting it from landfills. Edmonton, Halifax, Nanaimo and others are diverting more than 50% of their waste.
The City of Whitehorse Waste Management Facility is located approximately six kilometers north of Downtown Whitehorse at Mile 91972 (Mile 919.72) Alaska Highway.
Weekdays - 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Weekends - 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Waste Management Facility closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
For more information visit the Waste Management Facility website.
668-1621 during above facility open hours, or
668-8350 Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For information on how to increase waste diversion from your business, call the Environmental Coordinator at 689-5169.