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Mat-Su Valley Rebuild keeps construction materials out of the landfill

The non-profit moved to a bigger location in Wasilla so it has more space to store goods
The non-profit Mat-Su Valley Rebuild collects and sells reused construction supplies in an...
The non-profit Mat-Su Valley Rebuild collects and sells reused construction supplies in an effort to keep them out of the landfill.(Heather Hintze)
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 8:54 AM AKDT
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) -In the past year, people in the Mat-Su Valley have thrown away nearly 13 tons of construction and debris materials at the Mat-Su Borough Central Landfill.

The Mat-Su Valley Rebuild non-profit organization wants to help people reuse some of those items that might end up in the trash.

“We have lots of tile, plenty of flooring, laminate,” said founder Tim Zalinger.

The shelves are lined with a little bit of everything from brand new handicap-accessible tubs and shiny new faucets to used power tools and bins of hardware. The front room near the main entrance is filled with lighting fixtures and lumber and windows line the walls in the back.

The store recently moved to a new location in Wasilla that’s about twice the size of the old place.

That means there’s more room to expand and to take in larger quantities of goods.

Zalinger said his goal is to keep materials out of the landfill. He worked in construction for years and was always bothered by the waste that went to the dump after a project.

“Even in the rough framing of a house there’s a lot of lumber and materials that get thrown out,” Zalinger said.

At the Central Landfill, Brett Olson sees that waste first-hand.

“We have stuff come in here that’s obviously almost brand new. It comes off construction sites or a building being demoed. You could dang near build a house out of what gets disposed of here,” said Olson, the Solid Waste Acting Manager.

There’s an estimated 130 years left before the entire landfill is full.

Altogether, the landfill collected more than 72-tons within the past year, including general household trash and brush.

The newest construction and demolition cell is expected to last about 40 years before a new one needs to be built.

Olson said there are multiple benefits to diverting materials to preserve the landfill’s longevity.

“You can save on your disposal fees. All of this has to be paid for. If you don’t have to bring things down here you can obviously save yourself money,” Olson said. “On our airspace front, anything that can be reused is great because then we don’t have to bury it. It adds up over time if we can divert small amounts and get education out about diversion.”

Zalinger hopes getting the word out about Mat-Su Valley Rebuild will encourage people to think about what they’re throwing away.

“People are excited there’s a place to bring stuff. You can tell a lot of people have been sitting on stuff. They didn’t want to throw it out but there’s nowhere to go with it,” he said.

He wants to make sure all of the materials lining the shelves go to a good home instead of the abyss at the landfill.

MatSu Valley Rebuild is now located at 567 S. Denali Street in Wasilla.

The store is open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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