Alaska Waste has been doing commercial composting for stores like Carrs and Fred Meyer since 2010. Now they want to see how many of their residential customers are interested in something similar and how it would work. They are starting with 200 customers for now at a fee of $10 a month.
Alaska Waste’s spokesperson Laurel Andrews says they launched the pilot after hearing from customers it was something they wanted. They also saw how the municipality’s own pilot curbside organics program — launched by Solid Waste Services last year — capped out. The city’s program ran from July through October and included nearly 300 homes. Now in its second year, it’s got nearly 900 homes participating.
Recycling Coordinator Suzanna Caldwell says she wants to see the program expand even more, but bring composting to Anchorage remains a learning process. “We have a landfill, so we have a system in place for dealing with trash that’s pretty well established,” Caldwell said. “We don’t have something that’s as well established for organic material. And you can’t just co-mingle the trash with organic, so right now we’re really trying to figure out that infrastructure piece.”
Caldwell says the EPA estimates about a quarter of all residential waste is organic material. She says if the city’s residential waste is composted, it can be incorporated into construction projects and used to improve soil. It can also help extend the life of the Anchorage landfill.