China’s restrictions on importing mixed paper and some plastics is affecting recycling worldwide. But in Southeast Alaska, most communities continue to accept those materials.
China is limiting the type and quality of recyclable materials it will import. That could affect Alaska, since most of our recycling ends up there.
Most recyclables in Petersburg go into a single bin at people’s homes. Plastics, aluminum, paper, it’s all picked up by the borough once a week. But glass is different.
As far as dump make-overs go, Yakutat has the ultimate Cinderella story. The remote fishing community is hundreds of miles from any other city. Barging trash away is too expensive. So, as the dump filled to the brim, what was Yakutat to do?
Gustavus with less than 500 year-round residents is remote. Yet it gets about 20,000 annual visitors who stay at lodges and step off tour boats.To stay on top of this influx, it aggressively recycles.
About 25 miles out the Haines Highway, there’s a pullout. From the road, a large sand pile obstructs trails leading to the Chilkat River. In the summer they provide a short route down to the water. In the winter, a popular cross-country ski track. Over the years, the area has also become an informal and illegal dump.
A small Juneau start-up is proving that household composting works. Lisa Daugherty of Juneau Composts! is already receiving accolades for her subscription-based service that’s keeping tons of green waste out of the landfill.
A lot of hazardous waste shouldn’t be tossed in a landfill. So at great expense, small municipalities are stuck trying to fix the problem.
In Ketchikan, people can come up to the landfill and take what they want, which saves the city time, space and money.
When you toss a candy wrapper in the trash in five Southeast Alaska communities, you’re sending it on a thousand-mile journey to a Lower 48 landfill.