Bales of shredded paper ready for shipment to Seattle processors. Photo courtesy of Threshold Recycling
With Kodiak Island Borough taxpayers
bracing to shell out nearly $11 million dollars for the landfill expansion,
recycling is ready to take center stage. Ken Reinke is the executive director
of Threshold Recycling. He runs a small facility on Von Scheele Way where volunteers and a
few employees sort and bale paper, aluminum and steel cans and two types of
plastic for shipping to Seattle
"There's economies of
scale involved in recycling. You have to have balers, you have to have a
facility, and you have to have people. Those are all fixed costs but the more
stuff you bring, the more you can send off and then that way it lowers the cost.
If you only brought a ton you've got all those people and that people to pay
for, that ton costs you thousands of dollars. But if you bring a hundred tons
that's distributed over the cost of all the people and the people, you can
lower the cost per ton that way."
be hard pressed to find someone who is anti-recycling. However, as with most noble
endeavors, cost- be it time or money- tends to muddy up how much we value doing the right thing. The
best solution for dealing with island trash might require a more involved
approach. Reinke says there are plenty of little things that can be done
consistently to significantly reduce the amount of material that ends up in the
is a very good thing to do, but reuse is always better. People come to us from
time to time for newspaper for packaging material or for Styrofoam peanuts. We
actually collect Styrofoam peanuts. People bring them to us and we distribute
them to those who want them. So there is a certain amount of reuse going on and
that is the ideal way to handle things on an island if it can be done."
borough's 2008 solid waste management plan shows that the expansion should
extend the life of the landfill through to 2025. Not long before this fall's
class of kindergarteners graduate from high school, the borough will again have
to address its trash problem and another expansion will not come cheap.