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Community composting in Anchorage is back - and bigger than before

Anchorage Solid Waste Services’ five gallon bucket sits on top of a pile of Susitna Organics’ composted soil on Monday, May 11, 2016. (Sarah Bell / Alaska Dispatch News)

Hang on to those coffee grounds and salad scraps, Anchorage — community composting is back.

After a successful pilot program last year, Solid Waste Services community composting is back this year with an expanded program and food waste drop-off site.

Last year, 250 participants collected almost 7 tons of waste, according to SWS  Recycling Coordinator Travis Smith. The program, which accepted compostable waste at the Anchorage Regional Landfill in Eagle River, is now expanding to 1,000 participants.

Those participating in the "take a bucket, leave a bucket" program can drop off food waste and collect a bucket of finished compost for their garden. People who aren't interested in collecting compost can still drop off their food scraps at the Central Transfer Station in Midtown.

Smith surveyed participants last year to get a sense of what people wanted out of the program. He said the main thing was a central location to drop off compost instead of driving to Eagle River.

Only those who register for the "take a bucket, leave a bucket" system are eligible for the finished compost (which is only available at the Eagle River landfill). Registration for the free program is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Central Transfer Station.

Participants from last year are grandfathered in the program, Smith said.

Drop-off for food waste begins Monday and goes through Oct. 28.

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