Non-beverage glass will no longer be accepted at Yukon recycling depots. According to a news release published today, recycling depots across the territory will no longer be accepting glass jars, bottles, containers and other non-refundable glass like pickle jars. Refundable glass beverage containers like beer, juice and liquor bottles will still be accepted.
Until now recycling depots have taken in all glass products in order to crush it and use it mostly as landfill cover. Much of the recycling collected in the Yukon is shipped down south for processing, but given the weight of glass transporting it out of town simply is not feasible. Joy Snyder is the Executive Director of Raven Recycling, and though she is disappointed in the change, she feels it is a necessity in order to recycling a reality in the Yukon.
Citing changes in recycling market prices Snyder says that these sorts of changes are not specific to the Yukon. “A lot of Recycling centres are having to close their doors” said Snyder “so we are very lucky here in the Yukon that we just get small operational procedures like this that we have to stop”. P&M Recycling owner Pat McInroy and Blue Bin Recycling General Manager Taylor Tiefenbach agreed that given the overall downturn in all recycling products, glass was no longer sustainable for any other depots.
Overall recycling depots and government members were hopeful that effects from the change would be minimal. According to P and M owner Pat McInroy, non refundable glass makes up only about 10% of the total glass stream. At this time, the recyclers have no plans to reintroduce glass recycling in the near future. When asked if there was anything more Yukon recyclers should be aware of, Snyder reminded listeners that even though glass containers were not being recycled they should still be cleaned, given that organic matter left in the containers causes leaching from the landfill site. It is also worth separating the glass container from the metal lid, since the lid is still recyclable.
While all parties agreed that removing recyclables is not ideal, they were adamant that streamlining their process was an important step to keep recycling sustainable in the Yukon. In fact, Zero Waste Yukon coordinator Ira Webb sees this as a good reminder to think clearly about the packaging and products we are purchasing and reducing waste from the start.