There are a number of other recycled materials that CRS produces that are finding second uses as well. Screened, fine material that
is a residual of the construction and demolition recycling process is being used as alternative daily cover at landfills, where it helps
minimize exposure to weather, deter animals
and insects, and mitigate fire risk.
“The old-school method of covering land-
fills each night was to use whatever soil was
on site,” says Mears. “The problem with that
is that the holes are only so big, so the dirt
only provides so much cover.”
Using CRS’ ADEC-approved alternative
daily cover, which contains small pieces of
wood, dirt, concrete, drywall, shingles, and
other components, landfills not only have
enough material but can grade and compact
it, just as they would soil. It is currently being
used as an intermediate cover at the Anchor-
age Regional Landfill and Chugiak Birch-
wood R&SP Inert Waste monofill, and was
used at Birchwood to shape slopes to create
the final grade for closure.
“I think that there’s some poetry in using
discarded, recycled materials instead of virgin materials for landfill cover,” says Mears.
CRS also creates tire bales and gabions,
which have been successfully used as non-frost-susceptible fill for road construction at
the Central Monofill Services facility in Salcha.
“Tire bales can be used to form a solid
driving surface as well as for berms in landfills,” says Mears, adding that while typical
landfill design provides a 3:1 side slope, tire
bales are approved for monofill construction
to 2:1, allowing for greater air space and preventing slopes from sloughing off over time.
While it has taken a while for the importance of recycling and reclamation to catch
on in the 49th State, there’s a growing understanding that not only can businesses help
preserve the planet but they can also put
money back into their pockets while doing
so. The key is in learning how to use waste
creatively and cost-efficiently.
“It’s an obscure field,” says Mears. “In a
lot of businesses, you know what you’re buying, but with recycling, you don’t know what
you’re getting or where it’s coming from.
It’s not always what you want, but it’s what
you’ve got. The balance is in matching what
comes in with where it needs to go.” R
Vanessa Orr is a freelance writer and
former editor of the Capital City Weekly
Left to right: General Manager of Solid Waste Services Mark Spafford, Anchorage Mayor Ethan
Berkowitz, and General Manager of Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility Brett Jokela stand in
front of the reclaimed glass that was used as pipe bedding to install 4,000 feet of 16-inch PVC water
main on the Northern Lights Boulevard project.