Green Guide

Alaska borough plans composting pilot project

Posted June 13

— A composting project could make one Alaska city much cleaner and greener if successful.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved a resolution at its June 6 meeting supporting a demonstration project in Kachemak City that will take food waste from 20 Homer-area businesses and compost it rather than send it to Central Peninsula Landfill.

The project is authorized for one year to start and can be cancelled at any time. But the project won't continue if it doesn't save the borough any money over transporting waste to the landfill.

The only part the borough will fund is the container rentals and the hauling costs through a contractor. The physical land for the compost site is being donated by Kachemak City-based construction company Gregoire Construction.

Luke Gamble, the business manager for Gregoire Construction, said the company does not do composting but was willing to contribute the land for the pilot project, the Peninsula Clarion reported (http://bit.ly/2tgWlki ).

The plan is to get about 20 businesses to contribute their compostable waste to a hauling route, Maryott said. The borough is not doing the outreach to the businesses, though — that's been up to representatives from a local group, the Kachemak Advocates of Recycling, one of the original advocates for the composting project.

"It is important to our group to reuse the waste that enter the borough's landfill(s) and to encourage recycling, re-using, and reducing waste," wrote Vivian Finlay, the group's spokeswoman in a public comment to the assembly. "Organic and other materials which may be composted need to stay out of the landfill. This pilot project is a good start to evaluate if businesses and the public will support such a program."

Some challengers to the project raised concerns about the smell of the waste and it attracting insects, rodents, bears and other wildlife.

Assembly President Kelly Cooper, one of the co-sponsors on the resolution, said she owns the espresso stand next door to the proposed site and understood the odors should be minimal with the style of composting being proposed. The project presents an opportunity to put less waste in the landfill, which saves money over the long-term as building new cells costs millions of dollars, Cooper said.

Maryott said the Solid Waste Department hopes to get the project running this year.

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