Is there a better way for Haines to deal with solid waste? A working group will tackle that question starting next week.
Right now, residents are left to their own devices to dispose of solid waste. Most people haul trash to a private disposal business called Community Waste Solutions.
The idea for the Solid Waste Working Group came about after a couple Borough Assembly Commerce Committee meetings. At the first meeting in August, they discussed an ordinance from 2014 that would have regulated the management of solid waste. Former assembly member Debra Schnabel, who helped draft the proposal, explained the details. She said each resident would pay a fee or tax for solid waste services.
“The borough then contracts with a hauler to pick up and dispose of solid waste,” Schnabel said. “It can be done in different ways in different zones. So you’d probably have pick-up required in the townsite service area, but maybe outside the townsite service area, you might have a drop-off.”
People opposed to this idea say the current system encourages good habits, like recycling and composting. But others say it motivates bad behavior, like illegal dumping of trash in the water or woods.
The solid waste committee may decide to revisit the old ordinance, or go in a different direction. Assembly member Margaret Friedenauer will serve as a non-voting member on the committee. At a meeting in September, she said this is a discussion worth having.
“I’m not used to living in a town that doesn’t have a solid waste plan,” Friedenauer said. “Like I’ve never lived somewhere where it’s not a utility and I don’t pay for solid waste in my taxes or by fee. Is it a problem? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”
Pending assembly confirmation, the other members on the solid waste committee are: Stephanie Scott representing Takshanuk Watershed Council, Melissa Aronson from Haines Friends of Recycling, Sally Garton from Community Waste Solutions, Reilly Kosinski from the chamber of commerce, and Diana Lapham, Jeremy Stephens and Philip Reeves representing the general public. Borough Facilities Director Brad Ryan is another non-voting member.
The group’s first meeting is Monday at 3 p.m. in assembly chambers.