New pilot program allows Anchorage residents to exchange food waste for compost

Published: Jul. 11, 2016 at 8:31 PM AKDT
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A new pilot program in Anchorage will allow residents to exchange food waste for finished compost at the city landfill.

According to Anchorage Solid Waste Services (SWS), participants in the program will receive a free five-gallon organic waste receptacle to store food waste. Receptacles full of food scraps can be taken to the Anchorage landfill and disposed of at a community drop-off site.

In exchange for dropping off food waste, program participants will be able to take back with them a load of finished compost provided by Susitna Organics. The amount of compost you receive depends on the amount of food waste you provide, SWS says.

SWS Recycling Coordinator Travis Smith says the project was envisioned as a way to increase small-scale urban agriculture in Anchorage by making composting more accessible to the community.

“We have residents continually ask what more they can do with their compost,” Smith told Channel 2. “Of course there’s lots of people who compost in their backyards and this is potentially looking at it as an outlet for maybe somebody who doesn’t have the time or the space to compost in their backyard.”

Smith says the program has the potential to improve food security in a city that relies heavily on imported goods from the Lower 48.

“This is just one way to keep fully utilizing our resources,” he said. “Anchorage used to supply itself with a lot more food that was grown locally, now we rely much more on imports. This is just one way, garden-by-garden, to help augment people growing their own food locally.”

The program runs until October. SWS says it will evaluate the program’s success before making adjustments and hopefully offering it again. Smith said community response to the proposal has been largely positive and the program is expected to see a lot of participation.

To sign up, contact Travis Smith at (907) 343-6275 or