Non-beverage glass will no longer be accepted for recycling

Joint news release with Government of Yukon, City of Whitehorse, Raven Recycling, P&M Recycling and Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling

Recycling depots across Yukon will no longer accept non-beverage glass starting November 30, 2019. Glass jars, bottles, containers and other non-refundable glass like pickle jars will no longer be accepted at recycling facilities in Whitehorse or at rural depots. Refundable glass beverage containers like beer, juice and liquor bottles will still be accepted.

For many years, recycling depots have accepted glass, crushed it, and tried to find a local use for the material.  Most crushed glass has been transported to the Whitehorse Solid Waste Facility and used as cover. Depots have also explored selling crushed glass for construction material in walking paths, asphalt additives, sand-blasting material, or as products for local businesses, but none of these initiatives were economically viable in the long term. Like other jurisdictions that are not located close to a glass recycling facility, Yukon’s glass has never been shipped outside for recycling.

Recycling costs money, and in the face of falling commodity markets over the last 10 years, recycling depots are looking for efficiencies. By no longer accepting non-beverage glass, recycling depots can make better use of their resources. Recycling depots have therefore notified the City of Whitehorse and the Government of Yukon that they want to stop accepting non-beverage glass and sending it to the landfill. While it is unfortunate that a long-term solution for recycling locally cannot be found, the two governments support this decision.

Other non-refundable materials, like cardboard, aluminum and plastic, are processed and shipped south for recycling. Refundable glass beverage containers, like beer bottles, juice bottles and liquor bottles, will still be accepted. Refillable beer bottles are often used locally or are sent south to be refilled. Other beverage glass will be crushed and used as landfill cover or used to explore local alternatives.

Recycling in Yukon has always had unique challenges. It is unfortunate that we cannot find a viable solution for glass locally, but we understand the need to have a sustainable recycling industry in Yukon. We encourage Yukoners to reduce and reuse wherever possible and to explore local solutions for glass so that we might one day be able to recycle it again. The Ministerial Committee on Solid Waste is also looking into potential solutions for our recycling program to ensure it continues to help divert waste in the territory.

Minister of Community Services John Streicker

We had always hoped that collecting glass would lead to a local, long term and financially viable solution. Every material has its own challenges and we believe that no longer taking glass is the best option for our operations and also for the Yukon environment.

We will continue to partner with the City of Whitehorse to use crushed beverage container glass, except refillable beer bottles, as cover material to control litter and made available to local innovators.

Executive Director of Raven Recycling Joy Snyder

We believe this path is the best option for the recycling industry in Whitehorse and support their focus on the materials which will maximize the environmental benefits of recycling.  We encourage our innovative residents and businesses to continue to explore uses for recycled glass in hopes that we will one day be able to recycle it again.

 Mayor of Whitehorse Dan Curtis

We believe this path is the best option for the recycling industry in Whitehorse. Our list of accepted materials for collection will be updated beginning December 2019.  We will be using this opportunity to explore ways to expand and improve our collection services.

General Manager of Whitehorse Blue Bin Recycling Taylor Tiefenbach

Quick facts 
  • Yukoners are encouraged to reuse glass products when possible, or safely dispose of it in their household waste.

  • Safe disposal of glass products includes rinsing out the food or liquid material as it can cause leachate. Liquids can be disposed of through the sanitary sewer system or the Household Hazardous Waste collection as appropriate.

  • The Government of Yukon and the City of Whitehorse support recycling through the Recycling Fund and diversion credits. Municipalities across Yukon provide infrastructure and other support to ensure citizens can recycle. 

  • Processors provide recycling services to Yukoners and use revenue from material sales as well as the Beverage Container Regulation deposit to pay for processing a variety of materials.

  • Like processors across the country, Yukon’s distance from a glass recycling facility makes it financially unviable to ship glass. 

  • Glass is an inert product that does not have a negative environmental impact on the landfill. Metal lids can be recycled. Beer bottles can be reused up to 15 times.

  • In Whitehorse, landfilled waste is compacted using a specialized compactor, so people do not need to break down their glass prior to disposal.

  • Non-beverage container glass that will no longer be accepted for recycling includes pickle jars, pasta jars, soy sauce bottles, hot sauce bottles, olive oil bottles, maple syrup jars, old glassware, household glass and more.

  • Refundable beverage container glass includes beer, wine, liquor, juice and pop bottles. These will continue to be accepted for refunds at all recycling depots.

Contact 

Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications
867-393-7136
matthew.cameron@gov.yk.ca  

Kara Johancsik
Communications, Community Services
867-332-1237
kara.johancsik@gov.yk.ca

Myles Dolphin
Communications, City of Whitehorse
867-689-0515
myles.dolphin@whitehorse.ca

Joy Snyder
Executive Director, Raven Recycling
867 667 7259 ext 25

Taylor Tiefenbach
General Manager, Blue Bin Recycling
867-336-2558
taylor@whitehorsebluebins.com

News release #: 
19-245