Anchorage to make another attempt at recycling plan

Posted: Monday, February 26, 2007

ANCHORAGE - Recycling in Anchorage isn't easy.

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It means collecting bottles and newspapers and dragging them across town, only to find that the city won't be recycling glass for the next few months.

But things could be getting easier, said Kevin Harun, municipal renewable resources manager.

The city is creating a comprehensive recycling plan, where residents would only have to drag most of their recyclable items as far as the curb.

People have been talking about a recycling program for years, maybe even decades, but this time things are different, Harun said. The municipality has hired Colorado-based Skumatz Economic Research Associates, a recycling consultant, to come up with a plan.

SERA, which has a $69,000 contract, has helped curbside recycling happen from Fort Collins, Colo., to Seattle. The first meeting for the project will be early next month.

The broad idea for the plan is to charge more for garbage disposal and make recycling free. So the more you throw away, the more you pay, Harun said. If you recycle and reduce the amount you throw away, you save.

Landfill fees, currently $45 a ton, would rise.

"If we do it right, the costs should even out," Harun. "If the consumer is recycling, and we have variable garbage rates, they should have no higher costs. That's what we're aiming for."

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