Nick Szabo, head of the Borough’s Solid Waste Advisory Board, requested the Assembly’s input in developing plans to build a centralized recycling, reuse, and solid waste disposal facility.
“We’ve been meeting for several months to develop the design a neighborhood collection center… We’re at a critical juncture now and we need some direction from the Assembly. The goal is to provide a convenient, centrally located facility that would consolidate all aspects of waste disposal. The facility would provide for reuse, recycling, and disposal of residential items and waste,” said Szabo.
The front-running potential location for the facility would be a borough-owned lot behind Safeway. The Assembly concurred that it wanted to move forward with the plan, but its biggest challenge thus far is gaining public acceptance. For one thing, Kodiakans are in the habit of throwing away recyclables. And re-use is a relatively new concept in the waste management lexicon, but one gathering steam because of liability issues related to salvage.
Both recycling and re-use are potential moneymakers, although there are differences of opinion on which could make more.
Ken Reinke, Executive Director of Threshold, a recycling center in Kodiak, maintained that the community could actually see more financial advantages to increasing recycling because it would actually lower the cost per ton of recycling. “I am all for a re-sale place, but I think that the biggest bang for our buck is in recycling,” he said.
Having the re-use center could, potentially, create financial gains as users purchase from the Borough or its operator discarded items at fire sale prices. The main cost for the Borough to implement it would be hiring an attendant to oversee daily operations.
“Re-use is a new thing,” Borough Mayor Jerrol Friend told the Mirror. “You used to be to be able to go out to the landfill and salvage. Now that’s not allowable anymore due to liability issues. I was out there today and dumped a load worth around $200. Some of it was lumber that could have been used for firewood.”
Szabo used Kenai Peninsula Borough, which has a Household Hazardous Waste Reuse Station operating at its landfill. This re-use center that sells salvageable paint back to its users.
The Assembly noted that planning is still in early stages and will be continued by SWAB. Assembly members see it coming to fruition in 2015 if it can make the public case for it.
“This assembly is going to have to push,” said Assembly Member Tuck Bonney. “I feel strongly that this community is ready for it, that it needs to be done. And we need to keep pushing recycling and this is one way to do it.”
Assembly Member Dave Kaplan pushed for getting the item slotted into another work session soon. “Even though we know it’s not going to get done this year I do think that it would be of value to say, ‘Look, we would like this to be ready for next construction season, for next summer,’” Kaplan said.
To which Assembly Member Chris Lynch quipped, “We said that three years ago.”