Recycle center expands

Capacity to treat more materials will ease burden on city's landfill

Posted: Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Don't throw away your Christmas catalogs quite yet.

The City and Borough of Juneau and Waste Management are expanding the recycling capabilities at the Recycling Center at 5600 Tonsgard Court in Lemon Creek. Beginning Jan. 3, the center will accept No. 2 colored plastic, mixed paper, magazines and catalogs.

"The Recycling Center has also expanded the hours," Public Works Director Joe Buck said.

The center will be open Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Corrugated cardboard, all colors of glass, newspaper, aluminum cans, white office paper, tin cans, steel cans, and No. 1 plastic bottles and No. 2 plastic jugs will still be accepted.

The ability to recycle No. 2 plastic juice and detergent jugs, as well as colored junk mail and old copies of Sports Illustrated or Lands' End catalogs, will free up lots of space in the landfill, Buck said.

The news of the expanded services has been good news to the Friends of Recycling, a nonprofit organization that has conducted magazine recycling drives since the two incinerators at the landfill were shut down in June of 2004.

The more people don't put into the landfill, "the better for the environment," said Terry Tavel, a member of the organization.

Tavel said she was happy to be able to begin recycling all the junk mail she receives between garbage pick-up days.

"I'm amazed how much paper I get every day just in the mail," she said. "It's great that I can recycle colored paper now."

Tavel said she estimates she easily fills up an average paper shopping bag with colored waste paper each week. Now she can begin to recycle that junk mail.

"That's very exciting to us because that is a large quantity that would go into our waste stream," Tavel said.

The recycling program is paid by each citizen of Juneau, so they might as well take advantage of it, Buck said. A monthly charge of $4 is added to water and sewer utility bills, with $2.80 going toward hazardous waste disposal and $1.20 going toward recycling. Those off the city's water and sewer lines are still charged $4 per month, but they receive a $48 bill once a year.

"Everybody who can get out and participate the better," Buck said. "The more people we have recycling the more successful the program."-

With an estimated 30-year life span for the existing landfill, Buck said the more that can be recycled, the better it is for the future of garbage disposal in Juneau.

There are still some items that cannot be recycled at the Recycling Center, such as hazardous material plastic containers for motor oil or drain cleaner. Telephone books also are not recycled at the center.

Tavel said this is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

"I think that people can be more responsible now and I think most people in Juneau want to be responsible," Tavel said. "I think our first step is educating people in Juneau to what is now available."

• Eric Morrison can be reached at eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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