Juneau task force asks city for curbside recycling

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Sondra Stanway has received more than 20 holiday catalogs within the last couple of months. Recognizing that Juneau has a trash problem, she decided to do something about it.

Stanway and other members of Friends of Recycling decided to hold an event to recycle magazines and catalogs.

"Recycling is important to conserve resources," said Stanway, 57. "I am also concerned about the landfill."

Such special activities may not be necessary in the future if the Juneau Assembly adopts recommendations that an advisory board presented Monday. Curbside recycling would become the norm.

Waste Management, Juneau's private waste contractor, shut down its two incinerators last June. The company estimates the current landfill has only 30 years of capacity left.


Friends of Recycling is sponsoring a one-day only opportunity to recycle all those holiday catalogs and magazines. This will be held Saturday Jan. 8 from 10 a.m, to 4 p.m. in the Department of Transportation parking lot at 6.5 mile Old Glacier Highway. For more information, call 463-3372

But a mayor-appointed Ad Hoc Recycling & Waste Reduction Task Force said that what is more important than individual efforts is that the city develop a long-term strategy to manage Juneau's 30,000 tons of garbage every year.

After meeting for nine months, the task force presented its final report to the Assembly Committee of the Whole. Their suggestions include:

• Establish a standing committee.

• Start curbside recycling pickup.

• Partner with other Southeast Alaskan cities on waste issues.

• Set up satellite recycling centers around town.

• Promote recycling.

Janet Grange, who administers the city's waste program at the Public Works Department, said the city has discussed curbside recycling but did not adopt it because of cost concerns. No projections for curbside recycling in Juneau were available Monday.

Terry Tavel, a member of the task force, said only 5 percent of Juneau residents recycle because it is not convenient.

"Our biggest problem is that we don't have curbside pickup," said Tavel, also a member of Friends of Recycling. "Some people don't have enough space at home to store all the recyclables."

Stanway said some people don't recycle even if they want to because they don't have cars or they are not free Wednesday and Saturday, the only two days residents can recycle at Waste Management's landfill.

Alexander Hoke, a task force member, said the committee believes the city should own a landfill.

"It's a combination of responsibility and control," he said. "We should take more responsibility for our trash. And if the city owns a landfill, we have more control. Right now, many things depend on the willingness of Waste Management because it is a private company."

Some of the task force's suggestions were similar to those made by a recycling committee appointed in 1999 by then-mayor Botelho. Few of them materialized.

But Grange, the city's waste administrator, said some of the suggestions made by this committee are likely to become policies.

"Juneau has changed," Grange said. "People have gone down south or come from south. They have had the habit of recycling."

Botelho said no matter what policies they adopt, the policies will place the consumers' convenience as a top priority.

The Assembly Committee of the Whole also directed the Human Resources Committee to look into establishing a permanent committee on waste management.

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