You might not think very much about what you throw away, but the people who run the Anchorage Landfill do. Solid Waste Services recently completed a study intended to take a closer look at what trash ends up in the landfill.

Municipal recycling coordinator Suzanna Caldwell said the study was conducted on two days this year, one in May and another in October.

Engineers with the firm HDR removed 2000 pounds of trash from the landfill each time and sorted it into categories. Caldwell said they particularly looked for items that could be recycled but had been thrown away. They found plenty, including plastic, cardboard and wood.

"Those are all recyclable materials, so the idea is we should be able to get this out of the landfill," said Caldwell.

One item that turned up in large volumes was food waste, which Caldwell said could also be recycled. Two years ago, the Municipality started a program to collect food scraps for a community compost pile. Caldwell said now they're looking to do even more.

"There's a lot of interest in food waste collection, so we are definitely looking at trying to start some type of curbside food scrap collection," Caldwell said.

The hope, she said, is to launch the program in the spring, provided Solid Waste Services can find a partner that's interested in using the compost commercially.

The landfill is projected to be full by 2050, so space is at a premium. Caldwell said there's no room for items that don't really need to be there, especially if they can be put to another use.

"Anything we can do to get this stuff out is good for the community," she said.

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