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Talking Trash: You bought it. You tossed it. Now rural towns struggle to ship it out

by Elizabeth Jenkins, Alaska’s Energy Desk When a household cleaner or a box of batteries is barged to one of Alaska’s remote communities and sold in a store, it’s commerce. But many of those items aren’t destined for a one-way transaction. A lot of hazardous waste shouldn’t be tossed in a landfill: radioactive smoke detectors, flares that can explode, chemicals that can poison you. At great expense, small municipalities are stuck trying to fix the problem: How do you get the potentially dangerous trash back out of town? https://khns.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/01HAZARD.mp3 “This is where we put all the waste in containers...

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Talking Trash: Isolated Gustavus deals with national park-sized garbage problem

By Jacob Resneck, KTOO Operating a landfill off the road system in Southeast Alaska has its own challenges. But what if the community is next to a national park that gets thousands of visitors each summer? That’s the lay of the land in tiny Gustavus. As part of the CoastAlaska series Talking Trash, Jacob Resneck reports. https://khns.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/13GUSTAVUS.mp3 In this town, there’s a joke that nothing’s ever free. Because even if someone gives you something, you’ll eventually have to pay to throw it away or recycle it at the city-run landfill. “I marvel at it, that someone will spend $0.60 a...

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Talking Trash: In Ketchikan, you can salvage stuff from the landfill

By Leila Kheiry, KRBD Southeast communities are always looking at ways to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in their landfills or that they have to ship south. In Ketchikan, people can come up to the landfill and take what they want. In this report, part of CoastAlaska’s series, Talking Trash, we learn how that program saves the city time, space and money. https://khns.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/03SalvageTrash.mp3 “I love the dump! I go to the dump for all of my wearable art needs. That’s where I go first,” said Ketchikan artist Halli Kenoyer. She said the local landfill is a great place...

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Talking Trash: Follow the garbage Southeast communities ship south

By Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News, Ed Ronco, KNKX and Tom Banse, Northwest News Network When you toss a candy wrapper in the trash, you’re sending it on a thousand-mile journey to a Lower 48 landfill. That’s the case if you live in one of five Southeast Alaska communities that send their garbage south via barge, truck and train. CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld, KNKX’s Ed Ronco and the Northwest News Network’s Tom Banse take us on that trip, beginning in Sitka. Their report is part of the CoastAlaska and KHNS News series, Talking Trash. https://khns.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/16BargeTrash-XL.mp3 Sitkan Megan Pasternak stands in her kitchen,...

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Ferry plan calls for smaller ships, independent management

By Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News A plan to reform the Alaska Marine Highway System calls for replacing some ferries with smaller, more efficient vessels. Backers want it to be run by an independent corporation and negotiate its own labor contracts. https://khns.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/26FerryPlan-L.mp3 Many Alaska Marine Highway ferries are showing signs of age. Fares are rising and sailings have become less frequent. Most importantly, funding is dropping, pointing to what could be dark times ahead. “We can continue to admire the problem, and the resulting report, like has happened so many times in the past,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Marc Luiken. “Or,...

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