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With the New Year come some changes to CBJ recycling

January 2, 2019 – News

RecycleWorks — the City and Borough of Juneau’s recycling, household hazardous waste, junk vehicle and organics management programs — will be undergoing some significant changes over the next year or so. Here’s one: Last year, the recycling center building was demolished due to safety concerns. In this coming year, a new center will be built in the same location and with it will come expanded recycling days for residents and businesses. Also happening later this year, CBJ is partnering with Waste Management to relocate household hazardous waste (HHW) services to the landfill and add a composting facility.

Juneau’s unique location means it’s a challenge to dispose of waste. The local landfill is filling up and will eventually need to be closed, making disposal of waste even more challenging. CBJ is preparing for that change and, to date, has diverted more than 25,000 tons of recycling and 1,000 junk vehicles from the landfill since 2001. Global recycling was thrown into chaos last year when China, the world’s largest processor of recycling material, imposed drastically stringent contamination restrictions. This has led to the closing of recycling facilities and a generally unknown future for recycling. Juneau has prepared for any changes that may be coming by focusing on recycling more and recycling right.

All of the recycling Juneau does through RecycleWorks is separated by material, which means CBJ has a better product and a higher chance of getting a good price for the material to help offset the shipping costs. The public can assist in this effort in a few ways: Only recycle plastics that are stamped #1 or #2, ensure that the cardboard you recycle is clean and dry, and make sure no foreign material is put in with the recycling, like styrofoam packaging. Alaska Waste provides a curbside mixed recycling option, which also helps divert from the landfill.

People might be surprised to find out that the glass collected for recycling locally is reused right here in town. To combat the odors associated with the landfill, Waste Management has a methane collection system that it expands as the landfill grows. This system is made up of thousands of feet of pipes and wells that need adequate drainage to allow gases to travel. The glass is crushed and used for this purpose since glass is not porous and performs the job better than gravel, which is what would typically be used.

RecycleWorks programs are here to provide environmentally responsible alternatives to disposing of everything in the landfill. In addition to the recycle center, CBJ also provides Drop Box locations for source-separated recycling. The location and materials accepted can be found on the website juneaurecycling.com. CBJ’s Junk Vehicle Program allows you to get rid of your Juneau registered vehicle easily. The HHW facility accepts almost all hazardous wastes you would need to dispose of. And a tip for the thrifty: Check out the hazbin section for used (but still good) cleaning and painting supplies. For more information on any of these programs, go to juneaurecycling.com.