Borough plans composting pilot project in Homer area

The Homer area may get a little greener with its food waste if a planned composting project comes to fruition.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is planning a demonstration project in Kachemak City, an incorporated second-class city to the east of Homer, that will take food waste from 20 Homer-area businesses and compost it rather than send it to Central Peninsula Landfill, the landfill just south of Soldotna that handles most of the borough’s waste. The borough’s Solid Waste Department has been working on a small-scale composting project for over a year in response to interest from Homer-area citizens.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved a resolution at its June 6 meeting supporting the demonstration project, which is authorized for one year to start and can be cancelled at any time. The project has to pencil out for the borough, though — if it doesn’t save any money over transporting waste to the landfill, it won’t continue.

The only part the borough will fund is the container rentals and the hauling costs through a contractor. The physical land for the compost site is being donated by Kachemak City-based construction company Gregoire Construction.

Luke Gamble, the business manager for Gregoire Construction, said the company does not do composting but was willing to contribute the land for the pilot project.

“We’re happy to help out our community,” he said.

The borough’s Solid Waste Department had a plan to start a similar composting project in Homer last year but ran into some logistical obstacles. The Kachemak City project is the same concept, said Jack Maryott, the director of the borough’s Solid Waste Department.

“We’re going to be collecting food waste from local businesses and restaurants, and then diverting that waste stream out to this facility in hopes to recognize and realize a savings to a taxpayers,” he said.

The plan is to get about 20 businesses to contribute their compostable waste to a hauling route, Maryott said. The borough is not doing the outreach to the businesses, though — that’s been up to representatives from a local group, the Kachemak Advocates of Recycling, one of the original advocates for the composting project.

“It is important to our group to reuse the waste that enter the borough’s landfill(s) and to encourage recycling, re-using, and reducing waste,” wrote Vivian Finlay, the group’s communication contact person in a public comment to the assembly. “Organic and other materials which may be composted need to stay out of the landfill. This pilot project is a good start to evaluate if businesses and the public will support such a program.”

The borough currently contracts with several private haulers to transport waste to Central Peninsula Landfill, where it operates several recycling programs, but no compost program. Private individuals and businesses compost, but the Homer project will be the borough’s first foray into composting.

The only opposition submitted in public testimony was from Soldotna resident Lee Salisbury, who said he opposed “the export of raw ‘green’ garbage out of the city of Homer and dumping it on the ground and leaving it to rot in a residential area of Kachemak City.”

“I have concerns that rotting garbage on this scale will attract be as and other wildlife as well as become a breeding ground for insects and rodents,” he wrote in an email to the borough assembly. “Smell could also potentially be an issue.”

The Kachemak City Council submitted a letter of nonobjection to the project, though a letter from City Clerk Erica Fitzpatrick raised similar concerns about wildlife and bear attracts, odor, late-night noise level and seepage of compost material onto nearby properties.

Assembly President Kelly Cooper, one of the cosponsors on the resolution, said she owns the espresso stand next door to the proposed site and understood that the odors should be minimal with the style of composting being proposed. The project presents an opportunity to put less waste in the landfill, which saves money over the long-term as building new cells costs millions of dollars, Cooper said.

“The less we put in there, the longer amount of time we have before we have to do more cells,” she said.

Maryott said the Solid Waste Department hopes to get the project running this year.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at

More in News

Trees with fall colors populate the Shqui Tsatnu Creek gully as seen from Fourth Avenue on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai to use $770k in grants to remove hazard trees along Shqui Tsatnu Creek

The money will be used to mitigate hazards caused by dead and dying spruce trees over more than 100 acres of city land

Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, is shown seated on the House floor on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Alaska judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge Jack McKenna on Thursday ordered elections officials to delay certifying the result of that particular race

An image purportedly from the computer screen of a digital media specialist for Gov. Mike Dunleavy shows numerous files and folders of campaign advertising. A complaint filed against the governor, plus other individuals and organizations, claims administrative staff is illegally doing paid campaign work on behalf of the governor. (Screenshot from complaint filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission)
Dunleavy faces more accusations in campaign complaint

Governor calls it “specious and unfounded.”

A recent photo of Anesha "Duffy" Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
A 2019 photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, who went missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
Calderwood indicted for murder

Indictment charges man accused of killing Anesha “Duffy” Murnane with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20 of that year. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council gives Triumvirate more time to build theater

The Kenai City Council voted last summer to conditionally donate a 2-acre parcel of city land near Daubenspeck Park and the Kenai Walmart

Leaves fall at the Kenai Senior Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Senior Center makes plans for $715,000 endowment

The money comes from the Tamara Diane Cone Testamentary Trust

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
On Thursday morning at what police described as an active crime scene, JPD Officer Austin Thomas and Officer Taylor Davis walk the fielded area which was blocked off by crime scene tape. Multiple tents and a police vehicle sat in the field where the tape surrounded, another police vehicle sat in a dirt parking area.
No arrests made as Juneau death investigation continues

Shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday that a woman’s body was found

Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

About 21,000 people living along a 1,000-mile stretch of Alaska’s western coast were affected by the storm

Camille Broussard testifies in support of an advisory planning commission in Nikiski during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly approves advisory planning commission for Nikiski

The commission area as petitioned and approved covers just over 3.5 million acres

Most Read