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The charge to pick up extra garbage bags has gone up for many Anchorage residents

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 7:15 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The cost of fall clean-up could get expensive if people have left extra bags of leaves on the curb for the garbage truck to pick up. In a rate increase that took place Oct. 1, many Alaska Waste customers in Anchorage now pay $6.49 per bag, up from $3.14.

In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the rate to pick up a bag that is not in the trash can has jumped from $6.70 to $14.31.

Laurel Andrews, community outreach specialist with Alaska Waste, said the rate case was brought to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska in 2019 and was only recently approved. She said affected customers have been notified, noting the increase reflects the additional costs of doing business.

“When the cost of doing business goes up — labor costs, fuel costs, mechanical repairs — the cost of our services and our rates then go up,” Andrews said, adding that rates would be reviewed again in 2022.

“If folks do find they are regularly having extra bags, we would really encourage folks to look at the size of your garbage can, maybe even get a bigger can, or you can get a second can, or you can get a trash recycling bin,” she said.

It isn’t much cheaper for customers of Anchorage’s Solid Waste Services who find they have extra bags. New rates for the city utility took effect in January. There’s a flat charge of $11.58 to pick up extra bags plus an additional $2.32 per bag.

But there are alternatives to bagging leaves, according to long-time Anchorage gardening columnist Jeff Lowenfels.

“Leave the leaves there,” he said. “They should be gone by the spring. And if they’re not, just run them over with a mover and you’re done.”

Lowenfels said decaying leaves are the best fertilizer one can find for lawn and garden beds and letting them stay on the ground saves both time and money. He said putting leaves in a plastic bags that will sit in the landfill is a waste in more ways than one.

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