Fairbanks to launch pilot recycling program

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks North Star Borough will begin a pilot recycling program if it can reach a deal with a company that already provides recycling services to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and local military bases.

The program would put bins at three transfer sites and the city landfill in January, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. A transfer site is the trash drop-off locations for people who don't have trash collection at home.

K & K Recycling project developer Phil Cole said Fairbanks residents have been doubtful that recycling could work in their city, but it will.

The program has already taken hold at the university, which since September has increased the number of bins it uses from two to 11. Last week, it expanded its recycling program from paper to plastic and glass.

The university bears the cost through its sustainability office, which is paid for by student fees and money from the chancellor's office. The sustainability office is looking for private sponsors using an unusual pitch: For $1,000, donors would get their names on the recycling bins.

Taxpayers will bear the cost of the city's recycling program - though no one has yet said who will pay for the new containers - and Mayor Luke Hopkins has said the program won't cost much.

"Rather than just burying our waste in the landfill, we would be putting it to use," Hopkins said. "The more recycling we have, the better."

Cole said the company will be able to sell recycled aluminum and tin, and it will keep the glass and plastic it recycles in hopes of using it for manufacturing.

"We are looking at creating new product out of it," Cole said.

The company will burn the recycled paper and cardboard at its biomass plant, which is expected to begin producing electricity early next year.

The pilot project will last for three years. If successful, Hopkins said the city would expand the program to other transfer sites.

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