A nearly 9% increase in household garbage fees at Juneau’s only landfill is scheduled to go into effect March 1, after rates nearly tripled a year ago, and a near-tripling of fees for metal disposal will also take effect on that date, according to Waste Management, the private company that owns the facility.
Last year’s increase, accompanied by a decrease in hours the public could dispose of garbage, was widely blamed for immense amounts of trash being illegally dumped at various locations in town and out the road.
Disposal of household garbage and construction debris will increase in March to $215 a ton and a minimum charge of $153.32, up from $198 a ton and a $141.18 minimum. Metal disposal fees will increase to $155 a ton and a $110.53 minimum, up from the current $55 a ton and $39.32 minimum charge.
Other fees, such as disposal of individual items such as refrigerators and tires, are also increasing.
Before last year’s increases, the minimum fee for disposing household garbage was $49.50.
The operating hours are remaining the same, with commercial disposal from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and residential disposal from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Recycling hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
An operations employee at the local Waste Management office referred questions by the Empire about the increase to the company’s national communications office. Patrick McCarthy, a Waste Management communications manager, said the fee increases are “operational and transportation related.”
In a follow-up email about why the fee for metals is increasing nearly threefold, he wrote “for metals and other commodity-type products, prices go up and down as markets change. Pricing connects to end markets as well as other factors.”
Officials with the City and Borough of Juneau have stated they cannot regulate the fees Waste Management charges, but are concerned fee hikes at the landfill will result in additional illegal dumping and extra costs for employees to clean up garbage on city land.
Among those organizing community cleanups over many years is Leticia McRae, who for the past eight years has documented the situation at her Facebook page Community Clean Up In Progress, and in a post Monday stated the latest fee hikes and lack of action by city officials to combat illegal dumping is discouraging.
“I have been picking up litter much longer than that, but for 8 years I have taken the time to document our litter problem in hopes of creating change,” she wrote. “The ONLY change so far is, dump fee increases. After years of voluntarily putting in the work and extra effort to document it the last 8 years , there is zero results other than tired bones and sacrifice. My little hippie heart is sad. I had hoped CBJ would become better stewards of the land we call home.”
• Contact Mark Sabbatini at firstname.lastname@example.org and (907) 957-2306.