Juneau needs to take responsibility for trash

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I applaud the Juneau Empire for endorsing expansion of the recycling program in Juneau to extend the life of the landfill. I was disappointed, however, that the editors didn't mention or endorse the key portion of the recommendations submitted by the waste consultants at the Aug. 29 public meeting: The city of Juneau must take over the state solid waste collection certificate, currently owned by Arrow Refuse, and make trash pickup and recycling mandatory. Without this step, pushing for higher recycling rates will depend completely on the voluntary efforts of concerned businesses and citizens.

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The consultants' draft recommendations brushed aside incineration as technically feasible, but "unlikely" to be economically viable. I was disappointed with this conclusion. Many in the unexpectedly large group of citizens that attended the public hearing were there to find out how the recommendations addressed the growing mountain at Lemon Creek.

Obviously, adding less to the pile will extend, possibly by decades, the time it takes to build it. Nevertheless, it won't make the mountain go away. As a community, we need to embrace the reality that dealing with our solid waste disposal will cost us money, and that we, through our government, need to be deciding how we dispose of trash.

If the community felt it important enough to fund incineration, even at a higher cost, that method should be left on the table. Without city of Juneau assuming authority to dictate the method of trash disposal, any discussion is just theoretical.

Ann Metcalfe


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