The Alaskan Brewing Company is seen on Wednesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The Alaskan Brewing Company is seen on Wednesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Brewery expansion could indirectly aid Juneau recycling efforts

For more than a decade, Alaskan Brewing Company has looked to expand westward. It’s inching closer to doing that, and that expansion could pay off for the City and Borough of Juneau in multiple ways.

Besides providing Juneau’s most recognizable business more room for offices, storage or retail facilities, the expansion could also indirectly help the city face the challenge of supplying more efficient waste management.

Alaskan is looking to purchase four CBJ-owned lots. The transfer would displace the city’s water utility as well as the public drop-off area for household hazardous waste. Alaskan has been renting a portion of the water building for the past year; Communications Manager Andy Kline said transfer talks have heated up during that time.

“We’re interested, so it could happen fairly quickly on our schedule,” Kline said, “but it’s up to the city to say, ‘Yes.’ They’d have to figure out what to do with the hazardous waste area.”

Finding a new spot for the hazardous waste drop-off could actually streamline things for the city, which plans to consolidate waste services. Relocating the hazardous waste drop-off creates an opportunity to do that, RecycleWorks Manager Michele Elfers said.

A new location could serve as a convenient “One Stop Drop Off” spot for hazardous household waste, recycling, composting and scrap metal, Elfers detailed at the CBJ Assembly meeting Monday night. Having all these operations on one property could lower operating and maintenance costs, as the city currently has three recycling programs in three different locations.

Being forced to move the hazardous waste drop-off facility could serve as a catalyst for creating this new facility, Elfers said.

“I think it could be a really exciting opportunity for Juneau in general and the community because Alaskan Brewing Company is a really valuable business and community asset for us, and it could provide some opportunity for the RecycleWorks program too, to take our service to a higher level.”

Over the years, Elfers and her team have found that convenience drives action when it comes to recycling. When the city made it more convenient for citizens to deposit hazardous waste — going from a few collection events per year to opening the facility for three days a week in 2014 — the number of visits to the facility doubled and the total of waste collected increased by 100 tons from 2014 to 2015.

Getting more citizens to deposit their waste away from the Capitol Landfill would extend the life of the landfill, which is one of RecycleWorks’ goals.

Having the various recycling facilities on one property would make the whole process more convenient, Elfers said, if the city can find an appropriate location. Elfers proposed a few spots Monday that could work.

The water utility could fit at a small property the city owns on Barrett Avenue, Elfers said. There are then three locations that could work for the consolidated recycling center. The Channel Construction Property on Anka Street is one, which is a convenient location for the public and already paved.

A gravel pit near Home Depot in Lemon Creek suits the project but would need to be built from the ground up, requiring the construction of an access road. The final spot proposed Monday is actually at the Capitol Landfill in Lemon Creek. This spot would be large enough to accommodate the recycling center and citizens are already accustomed to waste disposal at that location.

The options each have their pros and cons, and the Assembly members were open to further discussing the possibilities. The Lands Committee will now look at the potential sale of the existing property, as well as the relocation and consolidation of programs. The Finance Committee will also analyze the costs of sustaining the program.

Those at Alaskan, which strives to produce its beer in an environmentally friendly fashion, are very aware of the possible environmental influence of this arrangement. Kline said RecycleWorks’ efforts fit directly into Alaskan’s philosophy.

“If we can assist, if we can be a catalyst in the community to allow for our waste to be used in a more efficient way community-wide, then we totally would advocate for that,” Kline said.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com or 523-2271


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