Wildlife Resistant Garbage Collection Program
Page last updated 1.4.2022 10:00am
In 2018, the multi-agency Valdez Bear Working Group began development of a bear management plan to help create a sustainable relationship between humans and bears in the Valdez area. The group researched and explored many options to help mitigate dangerous and nuisance wildlife encounters. One of the group’s top priorities was the need to develop and maintain an effective wildlife resistant municipal solid waste management system.
At the same time, City public works began researching ways to improve safety and efficiency for the different methods of household garbage collection around town, including curbside collection and dumpster services.
Following a lengthy research process which compared multiple products and similar municipalities, a proposal was made to Valdez City Council in April 2019, suggesting implementation of a new community garbage collection program. During the 2020 budget process, City Council approved appropriation of funding for a new program.
In February 2020, City Council adopted Ordinance #20-01 creating municipal code to implement the new garbage collection program. City Council also approved the purchase of the first order of wildlife resistant garbage containers.
The program - which involves no direct cost to residents - consists of two phases:
- Phase 1 (Completed during Summer/Fall 2020): Curbside household garbage collection using wildlife resistant containers issued by the City is now in place and fully operational. City sanitation workers have also shifted to automated garbage pick-up instead of manual pick-up.
- Phase 2 (Scheduled for Spring 2022): Community use dumpster pod program (no changes to commercial/rental dumpster programs)
The new wildlife resistant garbage collection program meets the following goals of both the City and the multi-agency Valdez Bear Working Group:
- Mitigation of environmental (wind, snow, etc.) and wildlife (bears, birds, etc.) hazards related to household trash collection.
- Automated, safe, and hygienic curbside household trash collection.
- Mitigation of injury risk for City sanitation workers related to manual lifting and riding on the back of garbage trucks.
- Maintaining low costs to residents for household garbage collection through operational efficiency.
Curbside Collection Program Began: October 31, 2020
Dumpster Pod Program Begins: May 18, 2022
Enacting Legislation: City of Valdez Ordinance #20-01, Amending Title 8, Chapter 8.08 Titled Garbage Collection and Disposal (Click here to view the ordinance.)
Click here to watch the City Council work session and view meeting materials regarding the new container program.
New Dumpster Pod Program - The Basics
Starting on May 18, 2022, the City will shift to a "dumpster pod" program similar to transfer stations found in other Alaskan communities.
Instead of single public use dumpsters located in many locations throughout town, pods or groups of dumpsters will be placed in two locations downtown and outside the fence at the Baler Facility.
Dumpster pods allow for faster, more frequent trash collection by City solid waste workers and help limit areas of interest for bears and other wildlife. Household garbage disposal in a dumpster pod is free for both residents and visitors. Security cameras will also be installed at each pod location to discourage illegal dumping and encourage proper use of the dumpsters.
The dumpster pod program does not impact commercial dumpsters or dumpster rental processes or fees.
Frequently Asked Questions - Dumpster Pod Program
Q: What is the purpose of this dumpster pod program?
A: Dumpster pods will allow for:
- Faster, more frequent trash collection by City solid waste workers,
- More efficient maintenance and monitoring of public use dumpsters, and
- Limiting areas of interest for bears and other wildlife.
Q: Which current dumpster locations are going to be removed/relocated?
A: Public use dumpsters (30 total) will be removed and relocated from the following locations: Bremner, East Bremner, Chena, Foraker, Gulkana, Hanagita, West Hanagita (2), Woodside, Pacific, Oumalik, Nebesna, Mendeltna, Klutina, Jago, Cottonwood Subdivision, Homestead (2), Chistochina, Valhalla, Kwik Trip, Copper Ave, Robe River Subdivision (5), Corbin Creek Subdivision (2), Rainbow Apartments/Eagle Crest.
Click here to download the pdf map of in town dumpsters identified for removal/relocation.
Click here to download the pdf map of Richardson Hwy/Airport Road area dumpsters identified for removal/relocation.
Click here to download the pdf map of Corbin Creek/Robe River subdivisions dumpsters identified for removal/relocation.
Q: Where are the new dumpster pod locations going to be located? Where is the closest dumpster location to me?
A: There will be three locations for dumpster pods:
- Outside the Baler Facility,
- In the lot on the corner of West Klutina & Hazelet Avenue, and
- Along Harris Ave outside the City Shop on West Egan.
Q: How were the new dumpster pod locations selected?
A: Dumpster pod locations where reviewed by the Public Works Department and Bear Working group and selected based on available locations that where centralized near residential neighborhoods and located near thoroughfares as to not disrupt regular traffic.
Q: When will the new dumpster pods be put in place?
A: May 18th, 2022 is the official dumpster pod program start date. However, the dumpster pod outside the Baler Facility may be installed earlier depending on operations.
Q: Are the new dumpster pod locations going to be seasonal or year-round?
Q: How often will the dumpsters in the pod locations be emptied?
A: Dumpsters in the pods will emptied daily or twice daily as needed on every service day (Monday-Saturday)
Q: Does all trash placed in the dumpster need to be in bags?
A: The City encourages all residents to bag loose trash to help prevent fly away litter and ensure sanitary conditions.
Q: Can I place cardboard in the dumpsters?
A: Cardboard may be disposed of in dumpsters or recycled at the baler facility. Please break down all cardboard to maximize space inside waste containers.
Q: What do I do if I have large items that will not fit in the dumpsters?
A: Large items, bulk loads and construction material need to be brought out to the Baler Facility during working hours. (Monday through Saturday 9am to 5pm).
Q: What do I do if one of the dumpsters in the dumpster pod is full?
A: Please use another dumpster in the dumpster pod. In the event all the dumpsters in the pod are full, call the Baler facility at 907-835-2356 to notify them of the situation. If that is the case, please consider using another dumpster pod or bring your items to the baler facility during operating hours.
Q: How do I report illegal dumping or other problems at the dumpster pods?
A: To report Illegal dumping and wildlife issues call the Police Department non-emergency line 907-835-4560.
To report full dumpsters or other operational issues with the Dumpster pod call the Baler 907-835-2356.
Q: I have not participated in curbside collection before, and now the dumpster near my house is going to be relocated. Can I still sign up to receive one of the wildlife resistant containers for my household?
A: Yes, the City still has WRC curbside containers available to rent for free or to purchase.
Q: I live by one of the new dumpster pod locations? What is the city doing to reduce the impact of residents who live nearby?
A: Dumpster pods will allow for faster, more frequent trash collection by City solid waste workers. Dumpster pod locations will be regularly monitored to discourage illegal dumping, enable better maintenance of sanitary conditions, and help prevent conflicts with local wildlife.
Q: Can I place household or personal trash in one of the business dumpsters around town?
A: No, Commercial Use Dumpsters are paid for by the businesses that use them and are for their use only.
Q: Someone keeps dumping furniture and leaving trash bags next to the dumpsters currently in place. People also have trouble remembering to lock the dumpster lids. How is the city going to prevent that from continuing to occur with these new dumpster pod locations?
A: The purpose of the dumpster pod program is to centralize dumpster locations to ensure the dumpsters are more easily serviceable and waste disposal is monitored to prevent illegal dumping and impacts to wildlife.
Q: The dumpster near my house is going to be relocated to the pod. I have physical and/or transportation issues which will make taking my trash to the dumpster pod a challenge. What are my options?
A: The best option is to sign up for the Residential Curbside Collection service offered free of charge by the City. If you have physical limitations that may prevent you from getting the WRC to the curb please call the Baler Facility at (907) 835-2356 to explain your situation.
Q: How much will this program cost me? How much is the program saving the City?
A: The dumpster pod program is free for both residents and visitors. Savings due to operational efficiencies will offset any costs associated with the program.
Q: Will the dumpster pods have fencing or specific operating hours?
A: The dumpster pods are available to residents and visitors 24-hours per day, 365 days per year.
Q: I am a resident of Robe River Subdivision. Why did we receive notice the dumpsters in our subdivision were being removed early?
A: The Robe River and 9th Street dumpsters were always slated to be relocated as part of the dumpster pod program. However, following consistent, long-term littering and dumping problems around the Robe River and 9th Street residential public-use dumpsters and frequent resident complaints about misuse of the dumpsters, those locations were identified as areas for early removal/relocation of dumpsters.
On November 12th, Robe River Subdivision residents were provided notice (door hangers) of the scheduled November 26th dumpster removal to allow enough time for those residents to plan ahead.
The door hangers provided reminders of different options for free residential garbage disposal instead of using those dumpsters – including free rentals of the blue curbside wildlife resistant cans, purchase of black curbside wildlife resistant cans (for those who do not want to rent or need an extra can), or disposal of household garbage for free at the Baler Facility.
In early December 2021, city leadership made an operational change and the five Robe River Subdivision dumpsters will now be relocated in May 2022 as previously scheduled with the dumpster pod program. Notices were placed on all five dumpsters in Robe River on December 13th to notify residents of the change.
Q: I have other questions not answered on this page. Who do I contact for additional information?
A: For garbage collection, wildlife resistant container, or dumpster pod questions, please contact either City Public Works at (907) 835-4473 or Baler Facility staff at (907) 835-2356.
For questions related to enforcement and fines, please contact the Police Department non-emergency line at (907) 835-4560.
Curbside Garbage Container Program – The Basics
Effective October 31, 2020, curbside household garbage collection shifted to the new automated garbage collection system using wildlife resistant containers issued by the City.
- Effective October 31, 2020, household garbage left on the curb in other types of containers will not be collected by the City.
- Those who do not wish to utilize curbside service using the new containers, may continue to use any of the multiple public dumpsters throughout town for free.
- Residents may also take their household trash directly to the Baler facility during normal business hours. There is no fee for disposing of household trash at the Baler.
- No changes to Wednesday summer season brush/yard debris curbside collection procedures.
Residential properties eligible for curbside household garbage collection may sign-up to rent one new wildlife resistant garbage container at no cost to the resident.
- Free containers will remain City property, rented to the residence.
- Rental containers are blue with a black lid and an imprint of the City logo.
Additional containers may be purchased, subject to availability.
- The price to purchase a second container is set at the cost to the City, which is currently approximately $280. This cost is subject to change over time.
- Purchased containers become the property of the resident.
- Purchased containers are black with a black lid. (No imprint of City logo.)
Both rental and purchased containers are only available to residential properties located within Valdez City limits.
Each container will be assigned to a residence address and include a uniquely numbered tag to help the City track the container in the event it is lost or stolen.
- Rental containers will also be labeled with the residence address. When a home changes owners/tenants, a new container agreement form will need to be filled out at City Hall for the rental container. Rental containers remain with the residence. Citizens may not take their rental container to a new residence.
- Purchased containers are considered personal property and may follow their owner to a new property. Owners may label their container with their property address, if desired.
Registration for the new curbside garbage container program began March 16, 2020.
Those homes which utilized curbside services prior to the start of the program received priority for program registration and received a courtesy door hanger on their residence with information and an agreement form.
Rental containers and purchased containers remain available to any resident interested in participating in the program.
Wildlife-Resistant Container Agreement Forms
Click here to download the wildlife-resistant garbage container agreement form.
Paper agreement forms are available in the entryway at Valdez City Hall.
Agreement Forms may be submitted via:
- Drop-off at City Hall.
- Drop off at the Baler Facility.
- Mail to City of Valdez, c/o WRC Program, PO Box 307, Valdez AK 99686.
Purchase of additional containers must be coordinated through the front office at City Hall and are subject to availability. (The Baler facility and City shop cannot accept payments.)
There is no deadline to complete an agreement form and sign-up for the program.
Wildlife resistant container delivery to residential properties will occur as they are ordered. City public works staff will directly contact each residence with a valid container agreement to schedule a delivery date and time.
As of October 31, 2020, only household garbage in the wildlife-resistant garbage containers will be collected curbside.
Tips for Successful Garbage Collection
Residential Curbside Collection Schedule
Curbside collection is currently free for Valdez residential properties.
Curbside Service Weekly Schedule:
Tuesday Collection Day: Alaska Court, Dewey Court, Kotsina Court, Broadway Court, Homestead Road, Blueberry Hill Road, Iditarod, Jago, Klutina, Lowe, Mendeltna, Nebesna, Qumalik, Hanagita, Robe River Drive, Gulkana, Foraker, Eklutna, Dadina, Chena, Bremner, Mineral Creek Loop Road, and Richardson Highway (town to Airport Road).
Wednesday Collection Day: Richardson Highway (Airport Road to City limits), Airport Road, 9th Street, Aleutian Village Mobile Home Park, Valdez Mobile Home Park, Corbin Creek Subdivision, Robe River Subdivision, and Alpine Woods Subdivision.
Thursday Collection Day: Resurrection Loop, Tonsina Lane, Wortmanns Lane, Shoup Lane, Keno Circle, Chilkat Circle, Birch Circle, Aspen Circle, Winter Park Circle, Clark Avenue, Valhalla Lane, Chistochina Lane, South Moraine, South Snowtree, South Waterfall, South Glacier, South Whirlway, Coho Place, Cottonwood Drive, North Glacier, North Waterfall, North Snowtree, North Moraine, Copper Street, West Hanagita, Ptarmigan Place, Mineral Creek Road, Mineral Creek Plaza, Cliffside Court, West Klutina, West Oumalik, West Nabesna, West Mendeltna, West Lowe, Pacific Avenue, and Woodside Drive.
If you do not see your street on the list above, contact the Baler facility for additional information.
Frequently Asked Questions - Curbside Garbage Container Program
Q: What does the wildlife resistant container look like? How big are they? How do they work?
A: The new 95-gallon, rolling wildlife resistant containers are manufactured by Rehrig Pacific Company. Containers weigh 45lbs and are 42.75” high, 30.25” wide, and 34.5” deep. Wheels are extra-large and field tested for compatibility with northern climates.
The containers are certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) as bear resistant. IGBC certification means the containers have met minimum standards related to the effort which must be expended by grizzly bears to access the container’s contents.
Additionally, the container is designed with residents in mind – an ergonomic locking mechanism allows the container to be easily opened by humans with one hand, but prevents bears, birds and other wildlife from accessing its contents. The locking mechanism also prevents lost lids and trash being blown around during wind events.
On trash collection day, residents place their container along the curb at the end of their driveway. The City garbage trucks, outfitted with an automated lifting mechanism, grabs the container, lifts it over the truck so the gravity lock opens the lid, dumps its contents into the truck, and lowers it back to the ground so the lid closes and locks.
Click here to view full Rehrig wildlife resistant container specifications.
Q: Do I have to get one of the new wildlife resistant containers? Why can’t I just use my own garbage cans?
A: Effective October 31, 2020, curbside household garbage collection shifted to the new automated garbage collection system using the IGBC certified wildlife-resistant containers.
Household garbage left on the curb in other types of containers will not be collected by the City. Residents could be fined for leaving out garbage unattended in a non-approved container.
Those who do not wish to utilize curbside service, using the city-issued wildlife resistant containers, may continue to use any of the multiple designated public dumpsters throughout town for free. Residents may also take their household trash directly to the Baler facility during normal business hours. There is no fee for disposing of household trash at the Baler.
No changes to summer season brush/yard debris curbside collection.
Q: Did you test these new containers locally before the program started to see if they will actually work in Valdez?
A: Yes. Prior to program implementation, the City tested use of a container with several different households during both the summer and winter seasons. One household of five (two adults, three children) reported the container was more than big enough to hold the trash generated by the family. They reported it was not difficult to roll the full dumpster down the driveway to the curb, nor was it difficult to roll in snowy conditions up or down an inclined driveway.
Q: I’ve never participated in curbside garbage service. Can I still participate?
A: Yes, absolutely! All eligible residences may sign-up for the program.
Q: Are the wildlife resistant containers required year-round or just during summer/bear season?
A: Year round. The new containers help deter all types of wildlife including ravens and eagles. They are also heavier than traditional trash cans and include a locking mechanism. Thus, they will be less likely to fly away or spread trash during a wind event.
Q: I don’t want to rent a container, I would rather just purchase one outright and not have to worry about returning it to the City. Can I do that?
A: Yes. You may purchase a container, subject to availability.
Q: What kind of trash is accepted in the new containers?
A: Household trash only.
Cardboard can be broken down and placed in the new containers. However, do not wedge or cram the cardboard into the container as it will not empty properly with the automated collection system.
Contact the Baler facility for instructions on how to properly and legally dispose of yard debris, hazardous materials and construction materials.
Q: Once I rent one of the wildlife resistant containers, what do I do with my old garbage cans?
A: Bring your old garbage cans to the Baler facility and the City will dispose of them for you at no cost. If you are not able to transport your old garbage cans to the Baler, contact City public works for assistance.
You can also repurpose your old can for other uses. City public works will accept curbside yard debris and organic waste only in your old can. Please place yard debris and organic waste loose in the can (do not bag). Curbside yard debris collection is on Wednesdays during the summer season.
Q: Did the City buy new garbage trucks for the program?
A: No. Two garbage trucks in the City fleet were retrofitted with equipment to allow automated pick-up of the new curbside containers. The new equipment allows the driver of the truck to operate the pick-up equipment from inside the cab. This will alleviate the need for a second employee to ride on the back of the garbage truck to dump cans, which improves safety and efficiency.
Q: Does the efficiency with the new automated system mean we will have more than weekly curbside service?
A: City public works will use the new system through summer 2022.
In fall 2022, the curbside pick-up schedule will be evaluated to determine additional opportunities for service.
Q: How much will does the curbside program cost me? How much is the program saving the City?
A: There is no cost to the resident enrolling in the program unless they voluntarily choose to purchase additional containers. Curbside household trash collection is also free for residential properties within Valdez City limits.
The approximate initial cost of the program to the City is $315,000, which includes the first order of 680 curbside containers, automated container equipment to retrofit two garbage trucks, and travel/training for public works staff to learn how to safely operate the equipment.
Savings due to operational efficiencies will offset the costs associated with the program in less than two years.
Q: I heard the wildlife resistant containers lock. I am worried my children or pets could become trapped inside. Do the containers prevent against accidental entrapment?
A: Yes. The containers are ANSI certified and have an interior safety switch to unlock the container from the inside.
Q: Where do I store my new container?
A: The new containers are wildlife resistant, so can be stored either outside your residence or in the location where your current garbage cans are stored. Containers may only be placed curbside on collection days.
Q: What happens if my wildlife resistant container gets lost or stolen?
A: If your container is accidentally damaged, please call the Baler facility for assistance.
If your container is stolen or intentionally damaged, please call the Valdez Police Department non-emergency line to report the issue. Municipal code includes fines for stealing or damaging the wildlife resistant containers. If evidence proves your container was stolen or intentionally damaged by someone outside your household, provide your VPD case number to the Baler facility and your container will be replaced by the City at no cost to you.
Q: I have physical limitations and am worried I will not be able to roll the new containers from my house to the street. What should I do?
A: Please contact the Baler facility and they will work with you to provide assistance on collection days.
Q: I own several properties around town. Can I receive one rental container for each property?
A: Yes. One container may be rented at each physical address. Additional containers may be purchased subject to availability. Apartment buildings and other larger multi-family dwellings will still need to rent a dumpster.
Q: What is the replacement cycle for the new containers?
A: The lifecycle of the Rehrig containers is approximately 10 years based on normal wear and tear. City public works will contact the resident directly with instructions on how to replace rental containers at the end of its lifecycle.
Q: I heard I am responsible for keeping my wildlife resistant container clean or I could be fined. What exactly does that mean?
A: Please bag all of your household trash when you place it in your new container. If you place loose trash, fish carcasses, dog poop or other waste in the container without a bag, it can cause health hazards and issues with garbage collection equipment, as well as attract wildlife.
Liners for the new containers may only be used if they do not block the locking mechanism.
It is your responsibility to keep your container in clean and sanitary condition. If you forget, please clean your container right away with regular soap and water – no special detergent required.
Q: Why was the program start date extended to October 31, 2020? What exactly does that mean?
A: Unfortunately, the city experienced a delay in delivery of garbage truck modification equipment due to current national events. This equipment was used to retrofit our existing trucks and allow for automated pick-up of the new containers. Because of this delay and the need to order additional containers due to the popularity of the program, we extended the curbside program start date from June 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020.
Q: Why did my garbage not get collected?
A: In order for your garbage to be successfully collected, please follow these tips:
- Use the city issued wildlife resistant container.
- Place your container out by 9:00 a.m. on your service day.
- Place your container within two feet of the curb on a level surface, with the cart wheels facing the house. An ideal location to place your container is at the end of your driveway.
- Place your container at least two feet away from permanent structures like mailboxes, walls, lamp posts, utility boxes, vehicles, etc.
- Place your container at least two feet away from other containers.
- Make sure nothing is between your cart and the street.
- Avoid placing the cart near low hanging tree branches.
- Avoid overfilling the container.
- Avoid placing items on top of or next to the container.
- Keep the container lock clean and free of debris so it latches properly.
Q: I have other questions not answered on this page. Who do I contact for additional information?
A: For garbage collection, wildlife resistant container, or dumpster pod questions, please contact either City public works at (907) 835-4473 or Baler facility staff at (907) 835-2356.
For questions related to enforcement and fines, please contact the Valdez Police Department non-emergency line at (907) 835-4560.