Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Survey targets waste disposal

 


The Haines Borough wants to know what you do with your garbage.

At its Dec. 10 meeting, the assembly directed staff to move forward with conducting a survey of about 200 residents to determine community behaviors and attitudes toward solid waste, including garbage, recycling and compost.

Randomly selected residents will receive a card in their post office boxes by the end of the month asking for their participation in an online survey. The survey asks them to identify how much waste they produce per week, what it consists of, what they do with it, how much time they spend on disposing of it, how much it costs to dispose of, and how they feel other households and the borough should be dealing with trash and recycling.

The sample will include both residential households and commercial businesses.

Assembly member Debra Schnabel spearheaded the survey as part of her public administration coursework at the University of Alaska Southeast. As the borough has struggled to manage solid waste produced in the community – and several private enterprises are now offering varying degrees of service available to different areas and at different prices – Schnabel thought the first step to possibly creating a solution would be identifying if there is a problem.

“I am focusing on solid waste management in the Haines Borough with the idea that I might come to a clearer understanding of the issues and what options we have to improve our capacity to meet stated goals for recycling, reducing waste and maintaining a cleaner, safer environment,” Schnabel said.

The university offered Schnabel the use of its SurveyMonkey account, a website which facilitates survey development and produces analytic reports.

Participants will receive instructions for accessing the Internet via mail and possibly email.

Schnabel estimates the survey will cost the borough about $1,400: $1,200 in employee labor (40 hours at $30 an hour) and $200 in supplies and postage.

If a need or desire for a change in the system is identified through analysis of the survey results, Schnabel hopes to have the assembly’s Commerce Committee – which she chairs – work with community stakeholders to create a comprehensive solid waste management plan.

Community Waste Solutions, one of the area’s two private waste management companies, is working on a proposal for a partnership between the borough and the company that would establish consolidated service with mandatory pick-up, company consultant Burl Sheldon said.

The proposal will include all the logistics and details of providing universal service, including cost, required equipment, administrative time demands, and collections per hour, he said.

“I literally drove every street in the townsite and recorded the mileage,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon said he is happy to see the borough assembly supporting the survey and demonstrating its willingness to look at solid waste management. “It’s a meaningful way to signal to the community that the assembly is interested in a solid waste program, and that has not yet been done,” he said.

The company also is researching how other Southeast communities, specifically Petersburg and Wrangell, manage their garbage and recycling.

instructions for accessing the Internet via mail and possibly email.

Schnabel estimates the survey will cost the borough about $1,400: $1,200 in employee labor (40 hours at $30 an hour) and $200 in supplies and postage.

If a need or desire for a change in the system is identified through analysis of the survey results, Schnabel hopes to have the assembly’s Commerce Committee – which she chairs – work with community stakeholders to create a comprehensive solid waste management plan.

Community Waste Solutions, one of the area’s two private waste management companies, is working on a proposal for a partnership between the borough and the company that would establish consolidated service with mandatory pick-up, company consultant Burl Sheldon said.

The proposal will include all the logistics and details of providing universal service, including cost, required equipment, administrative time demands, and collections per hour, he said.

“I literally drove every street in the townsite and recorded the mileage,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon said he is happy to see the borough assembly supporting the survey and demonstrating it’s willing to look at solid waste management. “It’s a meaningful way to signal to the community that the assembly is interested in a solid waste program, and that has not yet been done,” he said.

The company also is researching how other Southeast communities, specifically Petersburg and Wrangell, manage their garbage and recycling. 

 
 

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