After 10 years, Friends of Recycling is ending its glass-crushing operation. Recycling options still will be available to Juneau residents, however, through a one-stop recycling program to be established by the city in early September.
The city program will recycle glass and aluminum initially and plans to expand to include newspapers and cardboard by January.
"We've been working with the city for several years, trying to get this going," said Margot Knuth, president of the nonprofit Friends of Recycling. "We're very pleased that the city has stepped forward. It will be much easier for people in Juneau to participate in recycling."
The contract for operation of the city's program has been awarded to Waste Management, which runs Arrow Refuse garbage collection service and the Capital Landfill.
Friends' glass crusher, which city and community support helped purchase, will be moved to the landfill at 5600 Tonsgard Court later this week. Glenn Thompson, district manager of Waste Management, said the company hopes to start accepting glass, aluminum and tin cans in September. The planned opening date of Sept. 2 has been pushed back to allow for instruction from the manufacturer of the glass crusher.
Once started, recycling hours will be "much better hours than Friends of Recycling was able to offer," Knuth said. Friends was open from 9-11 a.m. Saturdays. Waste Management will accept materials all day Wednesday and Saturday.
Since Friends' recycling program began 10 years ago, community involvement has increased steadily, Knuth said. She estimates 20 percent of Juneau recycles glass, and hopes growth will continue under the new program.
"Out at the landfill, you will have something that truly qualifies as a one-stop recycling center," Knuth said.
Several local groups, including Auke Bay Cans and the Lion's Club, will continue their recycling efforts, Knuth added. The future of Friends of Recycling is a little more vague.
"We will probably take a little breather and then we'll have a meeting of our members and discuss what we want for our future," Knuth said. "There's always something more to be done a red flag item in Juneau now is plastics."
In the meantime, Knuth emphasized community members should not drop off glass this Saturday.
The new program is being funded by an increase in Waste Management fees, billed on a monthly basis. The fee, separate from the regular garbage charge, will rise from $2.80 to $4, which will support the household hazardous waste disposal system and recycling.