Juneau's Capitol Disposal Landfill in June 2013. Members of the City and Borough of Juneau’s Public Works and Facilities Committee have a plan to address concerns about the long-term viability of Juneau’s landfill and  of complaints about odors in the Lemon Creek area. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Tackling the trash

City eyes zero waste plan

Think twice before tossing that garbage.

With concerns about the long-term viability of Juneau’s landfill and cognizant of complaints about odors in the Lemon Creek area, the City and Borough of Juneau’s Public Works and Facilities Committee members have a plan to improve the situation.

The plan contains short-term, mid-term and long-term suggestions.

In the coming months, the CBJ Assembly’s Committee of the Whole will review the suggestions and weigh in on the request for the assembly to support a zero waste plan and a composting pilot project.

“We are an isolated community with a highly complex solid waste stream,” said Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale, committee chair, at Monday afternoon’s meeting.

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The short-term suggestion is to meet with representatives from Waste Management, the private company that owns and operates the Capitol Disposal Landfill near Lemon Creek, to discuss odor control measures.

The second two suggestions look to reduce the city’s waste stream.

In the mid-term, the plan calls for introducing an ordinance to appropriate $50,000 for CBJ to partner with the private sector on a composting pilot program to create an additional supply of compost and grow local composting capacity.

City officials discuss odor at Lemon Creek-area dump

Zero waste plan

The longer-term plan calls for the city to develop and implement a zero waste plan.

“Zero waste is the term used to describe an approach to waste management that minimizes waste generation and maximizes resource recovery. While zero waste is the goal, it is generally acknowledged that waste will not be completely eliminated but rather could be reduced by (more than ) 90%,” reads a memo on the topic that will be shared with the CBJ Assembly.

According to the materials shared in the meeting, once this type of plan is in place, the focus is on source reduction through work with businesses to produce or use products that can be reused, composted or recycled. Zero waste plans also call for developing community infrastructure for recycling, composting, repair and reuse of various materials.

The committee acknowledged that creating a zero waste plan will require time, cooperation, and effort to bring to fruition and are looking to the model used for the Visitor Industry Task Force as a way for the discussion to unfold.

“Zero waste is a change in how the community deals with waste and requires a joint effort. The Visitor Industry Task Force is a great model for complex problem solving where multiple jurisdictions and community values intersect,” reads the memo that will be shared with city assembly members.

The memo asks the assembly to appropriate $100,000 during the 2023 capital budget process and establish a solid waste task force to tackle the issue.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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