The Yukon’s Zero Waste Plan

The Yukon Government has been working with a Solid Waste Advisory Committee to create plans to move towards Zero Waste. As a subset of this work, the City of Whitehorse has recently released their Solid Waste Action Plan with a plan for moving towards 50% diversion by 2015.

Progress over the past 5 years

Zero Waste Across the Yukon Territory

The Good News

The Not-So-Good News

Next Steps: City of Whitehorse SWAP


Progress over the past 5 years:

  • Yukon Solid Waste Action Plan was adopted in 2009-2010
  • Solid Waste Advisory Committee established
  • Yukon Government Agreement with City of Whitehorse on transportation of domestic waste
  • Solid waste solutions assessment for Old Crow
  • Domestic waste transfer agreement with CAFN
  • Metal removed from Yukon’s solid waste facilities
  • Provided household hazardous waste containers to a number of facilities
  • Solid Waste Advisory Committee completes research on zero waste and waste diversion and makes recommendations to Yukon Government
  • Increase of funding for both capital expenses and operation and maintenance by Yukon Government
  • Achievement of no open burning commitment by 2012 at all Yukon government solid waste sites


Zero Waste across the Yukon Territory 


The Good News

Thanks to these Zero Waste efforts and your participation, the Yukon has:

  • Considerably reduced the amount of compost material entering the landfill while establishing one of the only places in Canada where a municipal compost facility produces an organic certified fertilizer from its compost waste.
  • Continued to increase recycling rates across the territory.
  • Begun implementing recycling programs and education in schools throughout the Yukon Territory
  • Diverted over 11,000 tonnes of yard and garden waste annually.
  • Sold 8,000 backyard composters to date.


The Not-so-Good News

  • Consumerism is skyrocketing – the amount of material that each person in the region generates through excessive consumerism is growing steadily.
  • Even though we are recycling more than ever, we are also buying and throwing out more than ever, and there are more of us doing this*.


Next steps: City of Whitehorse SWAP

City of Whitehorse SWAP – 50% Diversion by 2015 and Zero Waste by 2040
The City of Whitehorse Solid Waste Action Plan lays out the following key activities to move us towards 50% diversion by 2015. These are activities and focus areas that can benefit the whole Yukon population:

  • Design education and technical assistance programs with and for key stakeholders to support behaviour and systems change.
  • Create clear, fair regulations (via Bylaws and permits) that provide a strong financial incentive for waste prevention and diversion activities.
  • Support the private sector to expand or create new collection and processing services for enhanced recycling and composting.

Specifically, the Whitehorse Solid Waste Action Plan provides for the following over the next three years:


  • Prioritize Cardboard, Organics, and Wood Waste for diversion programming.
  • Prioritize diversion programming to the ICI and C&D sectors
  • Develop working groups for the ICI, C&D, and Multi-housing sectors to assist in program development and implementation


  • Create and implement waste diversion technical assistance program for commercial collection customers.
  • Increase diversion credits from $50 to $75 per tonne and increase the cap to $150,000 per year.
  • Amend the Waste Management Bylaw to include cardboard as a controlled waste in May 2014.


  • Continue to invest in our compost facility infrastructure in partnership with Yukon Government.
  • Develop a City-run progressive pilot for commercial sector organics pickup (starting with multi-housing units).
  • Develop a pilot for rural residential organics and waste pickup on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Amend the Waste Management Bylaw to make organics a controlled waste by April 2015. 

Wood Waste

  • Research options for wood waste and other C&D waste in consultation with the C&D working group and create a C&D diversion strategy.
  • Review and amend permit requirements for construction and demolition to enhance source separation and reuse of clean and treated wood.
  • Amend the Waste Management Bylaw to make clean wood waste a controlled waste by September 2014.

Mixed Recycling

  • Develop a community driven Zero Waste education campaign
  • Continue to advocate for the immediate expansion of YG’s current stewardship legislation (e.g. BCR & DMR) and develop a comprehensive EPR legislation that supports a financially sustainable recycling system in the Yukon.
  • Increase diversion credits for recycling processors from $50 to $75 per tonne. Unused funds from diversion credits can be allocated to a recycling infrastructure fund.
  • In partnership with stakeholders, determine the best model for collecting and charging for commercial recycling pickup. 


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