Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire                                Eric Vance, manager of the Capitol Disposal Landfill, speaks at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon held in Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Thursday.

Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire Eric Vance, manager of the Capitol Disposal Landfill, speaks at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon held in Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Thursday.

Keeping Juneau clean: Litter Free looks forward to annual cleanup

There’s also changes coming for how we get rid of trash.

Litter cleanup group leaders, landfill personnel, and interested citizens met at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall Thursday for lunch, and to discuss a cleaner Juneau.

“These are circular issues that have been around for a long time,” said Laurie Sica, the president of Litter Free, a nonprofit founded in 1985 dedicated towards the cleanliness of Juneau. “There’s people who think they don’t have the money to go to the landfill and so they go out the road and do something like throw a fridge off a cliff.”

Litter Free will be holding its annual cleanup on April 25. Sica said that they’re looking forward to the cleanup, and will be holding meetings ahead of the day to make sure it’s as effective as possible. Litter Free partners with a number of organizations and volunteers to achieve the citywide cleanup, a tradition more than a 100 years old, according to their website.

But the group isn’t only involved with cleaning up Juneau on one day of the year.

“We pay youth groups, clubs, nonprofits to go pick up trash throughout the year,” said John Logan, who runs Litter Free’s Litter Patrol program. “They’ll say to us: we want to get involved with this; we want to clean up this place on this day.”

The Litter Patrol pays volunteer groups $10 an hour per volunteer to pick up trash on public property, funded by a grant from Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling, a nonprofit. Logan says the program has three main goals: to help fund nonprofits, to clean up Juneau, and to teach kids the importance of cleaning up their environment.

“When you’re driving around and you see the kids on the side of the road, it’s really inspiring,” Logan said.

And what happens once the trash gets picked up?

“Waste Management has a new contract with CBJ,” said Eric Vance, the manager of the landfill in Lemon Creek.

The contract is for 10 years, with possible four- or five-year extensions. WM also recently opened up a new recycling center near the landfill, Vance said, open on Tuesday through Saturday to businesses and homeowners alike. The separated recycle is baled and sent via container to Tacoma.

“I think we have opportunities to do more events,” Vance said to the luncheon. “As for the CBJ working with us, they’ve done a good job maintaining the products that have good strong markets.”

There’s also a dropoff location for hazardous materials that WM would prefer not go into the landfill, like batteries, e-waste, paint, or other toxic liquids and chemicals. The drop off is located at 5436 Commercial Boulevard, by Costco, though Vance said the CBJ is building a new structure to house the drop offs by the landfill, scheduled to open in 2021. Drop offs for homeowners are open on Friday and Saturday; commercial businesses may schedule drop offs for Thursdays.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

Interested in helping clean up?

The annual Litter Free clean up will be held April 25. For more information on this and the Litter Patrol program, check out their site, https://litterfree.org/.

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