In 2006, the Borough Assembly adopted Resolution 2006-165, "A resolution of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly supporting a "zero waste" practice for all Borough operations." The Borough Solid Waste Division stands by this commitment as seen in several of its current practices.
"Zero Waste" means you place no waste in your landfill. All aspects of your waste go to some form of reduction, recycling, or a reuse program.
The Borough Assembly invests $54,000 annually into the Borough Recycling Facility, which is run by the non-profit Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS). In addition, a $75,000 grant is awarded to VCRS to help with operating expenses.
The more we recycle, the more value we receive in the form of space in our waste cells that otherwise would have bene taken up by those diverted recyclables. The lifespan of a costly landfill cell is extended by diverting waste. One cell can cost $7 million to build. That one cell costs $5 million to close with about $6 million in operating costs during the cell's five-year life. The total cost to build and operate the cell for 5 years is about $43 million.
A gas and water monitoring component is required by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The system includes 36 wells that are mostly monitored quarterly. Monitoring each cell continues for 30 years past cell closure. The monitoring well cost varies for each cell, however, the current system in its entirety is about $420,000 annually.
When large quantities of household waste gather in a cell, leachate is produced. Leachate is the "soup" that results from moisture dripping down through the waste into the bottom. The landfill captures this liquid and hauls it to a treatment facility. Leachate can contain some minerals and heavy metals that exceed water quality standards. Leachate is currently hauled to Anchorage with treatment costs of $475,000 annually. The Borough is proceeding with plans to build its own Septage and Leachate Treatment Facility at the Central Landfill.
Transfer Station Recycling
The Borough, community councils, and local recycling partners joined forces to offer recycling drop off at Transfer Stations. The Borough provides 40-yard containers, which were once destined for the scrap heap. The communities and recyclers find grants to refurbish the containers for recycling. The containers are hauled from the Transfer Stations to the recycling facility by the Borough on the current Transfer Station transportation contract. The landfill hauls the recycling containers to the recycling facility to save space in the landfill. Each container averages about 1.5 tons, which equates to 1.5 cubic yards of space saved in the landfill.
The Borough segregates scrap metal to be sold. Scrap is stockpiled at the Central Landfill and Big Lake. This includes items such as appliances, barbecues, bicycles, car parts, engine parts or blocks, exercise equipment, lawn mowers, metal tanks, satellite dishes, washers & dryers, etc.
The goals of the MSB Composting classes are to train & empower compost experts throughout the Mat-Su Borough to educate residents, businesses, schools, dog mushers, farmers, stable managers, and organizations to compost organic wastes; provide expertise to entrepreneurs wanting to start innovative composting and organic waste-reduction businesses; provide certified composters with a compost hotline; and reduce organic wastes at the landfill and transform them into beneficial product.
Backyard Composting Classes
- Saturday, 4/27/2019 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM This class is FULL!
- Saturday, 5/11/2019 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM This class if FULL!
- Friday, 5/17/2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
- Tuesday, 5/28/2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
- Saturday, 6/8/2019 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Vermi-Composting (worms) Classes
- Friday, 5/17/2019 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
- Saturday, 6/1/2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Certified Master Composting Classes
Master Composters are expected to pledge service hours to train others and/or start a neighborhood composting program.
PREREQUISITE: Backyard Composter Certificate required; Vermi-Composter Certificate recommended.
- Saturday, 5/18/2019 from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM and Saturday, 5/25/2019 from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM