The Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) Department of Solid Waste Services (SWS) is increasing rates in 2020 to maintain safe and efficient trash disposal and collection service for Anchorage residents.
The Anchorage Assembly approved the rate increases Oct. 22, 2019.You can find the 2020 rate increases for collection here (AO 2019-126) and disposal here (AO 2019-125).
Why are you increasing rates?
In 2019 SWS raised rates for the first time in seven years. Operational costs increase every year and in order to minimize service disruptions Solid Waste Services is increasing rates by a minimal amount each year in order to provide adequate services to residents.
The MOA enjoys some of the lowest rates of trash disposal in Southcentral Alaska. For comparison, the disposal cost per ton of trash in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough is more than double the current rate in Anchorage.
Why two separate rate increases?
SWS operates two MOA utilities under one department.
SWS disposal rates apply to operations at the Anchorage Regional Landfill, Central Transfer Station and Girdwood Transfer Station. These fees cover the cost of final disposal of all refuse generated in the MOA.
SWS collections rates apply to residential and commercial trash and recycling collection services in the area that was formerly the old City of Anchorage. Trash service in this area is mandatory. No private haulers may provide trash service in this area unless given an exemption.
If you are an SWS collections customer the rate increases are NOT compounded. Disposal fees make up a small percent of SWS overall collection costs. Other collection costs include fuel, vehicle maintenance and operators.
I'm an SWS customer at my home or business. What does a rate increase mean for my bill?
SWS collection rates will raise 5 percent in 2020.
Rates listed are the cost of service as billed per month:
Looking for another service not listed? You can find rates here.
How will this affect trash disposal rates?
Those who only use SWS disposal facilities (the Central Transfer Station, Girdwood Transfer Station and Anchorage Regional Landfill) will see a 6.25 percent increase.
The $1 charge per bag of up to four 32-gallon bags will not change under the new rate increases.
If I’m not an SWS customer will my trash rates increase?
SWS does not set rates for private trash haulers operating within the Municipality. These haulers include, but are not limited to, Alaska Waste, Northern Waste, Red Box Refuse and Blue Arctic Waste. Private haulers propose rates which are then approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. An increase in disposal costs will likely mean a rate increase for those using a private hauling service, however disposal fees are only a small portion of the overall cost of service.
Are recycling, hazardous waste or unsecured load fees changing?
The recycling surcharge per ton of trash will go from $1.50 per ton to $2.00. This fee has not been adjusted since 2012. Recycling programs in Anchorage have grown significantly in recent years and more funding is needed to expand and support these programs. This fee directly supports services like Curbside Organics, Community Compost, glass recycling and education and outreach for all recycling programs across the Municipality.
Some hazardous waste fees are increasing, however, most residents will not incur these costs unless they bring in more 40 pounds of household hazardous waste per person, per day.
The unsecured load fee is increasing from $10 to $30 for residential customers. Last year the State of Alaska increased the unsecured load fine from $100 to $300. The updated SWS fee reflects this change.
You can find details on disposal rates here.
Are these rate increases being used to pay for building a new Central Transfer Station?
In October 2018 the Anchorage Assembly approved the SWS Integrated Solid Waste Master Plan, the plan of finance and purchase of land for a new transfer station as outlined in the master plan. The rate increases will allow SWS to build this much-needed infrastructure.
A new transfer station will replace the current facilities which are deteriorating, outdated and provide inadequate levels of service due to long wait times, safety concerns and lack of recycling opportunities. Repairs of the current transfer station would mean long, expensive, multi-year closures. Those will cause disruption and additional costs for private haulers that would ultimately be paid for by residents.
Building a new transfer station allows SWS to continue operations with minimal impact to customers. It also improves safety and reduces wait times for all users. A new facility will also provide additional recycling options that save residents money in the long-term by extending the life of the Anchorage Regional Landfill.
The project is currently in the design phase. You can learn more about the project and offer comment on it here.
When do the rates go into effect?
The rates go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact SWS Customer Service at (907) 343-6250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions and we will be happy to help you.
Solid Waste Services Master Plan
Presentation to Anchorage Assembly Enterprise and Utility Oversight Committee, Sept. 19, 2019