Hometown Alaska: From dog poop to plastics – what can you really compost and recycle in Anchorage?

The Anchorage landfill countdown on the municipality’s web page shows less than 50 years of capacity. Recycling and composting keeps reusable items out of the landfill. What do you need to know, and where can you find out?

UPDATE: Since the recycling/composting program aired Monday morning, here’s a bit of useful info for Mat-Su Valley residents interested in curbside recycling. Alaska Waste began curbside recycling in the Valley last February, including within the city of Palmer, in an effort to divert recyclables away from the landfill. Here’s a link to their FAQs. We’ve added them to the list of useful links below. Thanks for calling, Alaska Waste!

And here’s a next level question. We love our dogs, but how do you keep Fido’s poop bags out of the landfill? Well, you could ask a Denali National Park Ranger.

So, going green is in the news every day. Alaska Airlines just announced it won’t use plastic water bottles anymore, opting instead for water in a box made with some recycled material. Global leaders are in Glasgow talking about their carbon-reduction commitment. Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teen, has strong words from her generation to others about taking responsibility.

So what can we do? Recycle and compost. Yet questions abound: why can’t I put glass in my curbside recycle bin? Do I have to take labels off cans and bottles? Is it true that you can recycle pizza boxes, even the greasy-cheesy ones? Can you compost meat scraps? Why can’t all 1-2 plastics recycle? And what compost/recycle mistakes should you know to avoid so you don’t contaminate the process?

To answer your questions, we have experts from Valley Recycling in the Mat-Su, Anchorage Municipal recycling programs, and a National Park Service Ranger with experience composting their working sled dogs’ waste, instead of adding it to a landfill. Now there’s an idea.

Have questions about recycling or composting? Bring ’em on! Your questions and comments are always welcome.

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Randi Perlman, Interim Director Valley Recycling
  • Suzanna Caldwell, Anchorage Municipal recycling and composting programs
  • Sarah Hayes, National Park Service ranger with experience at the Denali Sled Dog Kennels


  • Municipality of Anchorage: what can you recycle and where, website
  • Valley Recycling, website and Facebook page
  • Valley Recycling, information handout on what you can recycle and how
  • Alaska Waste offers curbside recycling in the Mat-Su Valley, FAQ from website
  • Denali National Park sled dog kennels, website (where all dog poop is composted)
  • Composting Dog Waste, from 2005, 11-page PDF, USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District (thanks to Sarah Hayes for sharing this)
  • Scoop the Poop, Anchorage Waterways Council effort to keep dog waste out of the watershed, webpage and short video
  • Podcast of U.S. municipal recycling facility managers on current challenges (25 min), audio podcast
  • Free resources on composting, Good Earth Garden School, website
  • How to compost in winter, Marion Owen garden column, website
  • Joy of Composting, Facebook page hosted by Marion Owen in Kodiak


  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (10-11 a.m.)
  • Send e-mail to hometown@alaskapublic.org before, during or after the live broadcast (E-mails may be read on air).
  • Post your comment or question below (Comments may be read on air).
  • LIVE: Monday, November 8, 2021 at 10 a.m.
  • RE-AIR: Monday, November 8, 2021 at 8 p.m.
  • PODCAST: Available on this page after the program.

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