Fairbanks borough to resume recycling

Paper, plastic waste will be taken to Eielson Air Force Base to be burned in power plant

Posted: Monday, July 18, 2005

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks North Star Borough recycling program will resume Aug. 1 after a year of negotiations with the Air Force and its solid waste contractor.

Borough paper and soft plastic waste again will be trucked to Eielson Air Force Base, shredded, turned into briquettes and burned with coal at the base's power plant, said borough Mayor Jim Whitaker.

The Air Force after dumping garbage at the landfill had been hauling paper back to the base. The Air Force announced last year it would no longer accept borough waste products because it had privatized solid waste collection.

Its new contract with R&D Environmental did not cover the backhaul operation.

Whitaker had hoped to get the program restarted by last fall. However, the request had to clear federal government review.

"With the level of staffing required to gain approval under Defense acquisition regulations, we are glad to get resolution on this and open the door for the borough and Eielson's contractor to press ahead," said Lt. Col. Allan Wieder, the 354th's Mission Group deputy commander.

Dan Schwietert, R&D's operations manager, said the company had been collecting paper waste from Eielson and using it in the power plant, operating a pelletizer once a week. The agreement with the borough will mean the machine will operate about four times a week, he said.

The base generates about 1,300 tons of paper waste. Another 1,700 tons will come from the borough. Together, they comprise about 1 to 1.5 percent of the coal used.

The program will cost the borough about $75,000 for labor and tipping fee adjustments, Whitaker said, but the price is worth it, he said.

The Air Force has agreed to pay $19 per ton to R&D Environmental for the extra service.

The fix is temporary. The Air Force will participate only until 2008, Whitaker said.

The borough has been working to build a larger, more comprehensive recycling program, one including paper, plastics and glass.

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