Alaska is the largest state in the Union with 366,000,000 acres of land, and a population of 710,231 (2010 Census). Over 60% of the population lives near Fairbanks, Anchorage, or Juneau. The other 40% are scattered throughout the state, in over 300 communities, many of which are not connected by road. This geographic disparity presents a unique challenge to the disposal of waste in the majority of the state.
To accommodate the large proportion of rural communities, the State of Alaska has designated a Class III landfill category. Class III landfills are more than 50 miles by road from a larger landfill or are not accessible by road at all. Many communities are only accessible by plane or boat. Most of these communities have less than 500 people. Every one of these communities has a landfill.
Often numerous challenges arise and must be overcome to ensure environmentally sound, cost-effective solid waste management. The Solid Waste Program offers assistance to communities looking to improve their solid waste management practices and provides the knowledge and technical advice necessary to overcome the challenges.
For a list of Class III communities, see our Rural Class III Landfills page.
Why should your local landfill be permitted?
State law require landfills to be permitted by the Solid Waste Program. Funding is another important reason. Though the Solid Waste Program does not have funds available for landfills, there are other organizations that do. A community with a permitted landfill will rank higher in the selection process than an unpermitted landfill.
Contact us for more information on becoming permitted or renewing your permit.
Fact Sheets and Guidance Documents for Rural Communities:
- Household Hazardous Waste Collection
- Open Burning in Rural Alaska
- Burning Garbage and Land Disposal in Rural Alaska
- Tips for Solid Waste Management in Rural Alaska
- Construction and Demolition Debris in Rural Alaska
- Solid Waste Procedures Manual for Class III Landfills