PUBLISHED: 4:50 PM on Wednesday, June 13, 2007
'Green' sweep
Programs improve tourism, recycling concerns in Juneau
The "fix-it" group of Juneau, Tourism Best Management Practices has been working to minimize the impacts of tourism since 1997.

The volunteer program is a cooperative effort of cruise lines, transportation providers, tour operators and the City and Borough of Juneau.

Addressing both resident and industry concerns, TBMP meets every early spring to assess potential problems and add new management practices.

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Lindsay Terry, owners of LT's Recycling offers services such as curbside pickup of recyclable waste products produced by tourism companies.
Members vary from small companies such as Cycle Alaska and Above and Beyond Alaska to large companies such as Gray Line and Princess Tours. There are a total of 1,600 members.

Each employee signs contracts concerning guidelines, and if any employee sees a problem in their company, they report it.

During the tour season, TBMP receives feedback on their agreements from public.

"Ten years ago there were a lot of issues giving people grief," member Bob Janes said.

Issues included engine idling, helicopter and cruise ship noise, traffic flow and residential problems with tour buses.

"The key to it all is hearing from the public, calling our operators and see what we can do to fix it," Janes said.

Locals can call the hotline and report problems.

"We categorize all the hotline calls, and reassess them every year and see what we can fix," he said.

They have been so successful that Ketchikan adopted a similar program last summer, and this summer Victoria B.C. adopted a program called Cruise Tourism Community Initiative, based on TBMP's practices.

Improvements are reflected on their hotline call records. In 2000, TBMP received 248 calls on various issues including flight seeing and cruise ship emissions compared to 85 calls received in 2006.

"The program is working but we still need involvement," Janes said.

TBMP has worked on several improvements for Juneau this season.

"We've suggested this year to city to widen sidewalks, and give people more space to walk,' Janes said.

"The crossing guard program has been finalized-it's been really effective," said industry contact Kirby Day.

The program includes a guard aiding the flow of pedestrians walking across the streets, with traffic signs.

"We've added guidelines for biking/cycling guides when they travel; they travel in a single file line so not to obstruct traffic," Day said.

They've also improved guidelines for whale watching including continuing to minimize the use of a PA system when near shoreline, and controlling their wake when near crabbers or fishing boats.

A significant improvement is involvement in recycling. TBMP has contracted LT's Recycling, owned by Lindsay Terry, 23, of Juneau. His service offers curbside pickup of recyclable waste products produced by tourism companies.

Since starting in October 2006, the young entrepreneur has kept busy. Along for the ride during the hours of pickup are his dogs, Stella and Brody.

"They don't do anything but cause trouble," Terry said.

Terry does all the hands-on work including recyclable pick-up, baling products and shipping.

"I've always wanted to work for myself, I got the idea from my wife; she pushed it on me for a while. All it took was a business license and a few flyers," Terry said. "I didn't even know there would be a need for it-as soon as I put flyers up people were really excited."

LT's Recycling has a total of 75 customers including TBMP, Nugget Mall, St. Vincent de Paul and three of their facilities.

Beyond Terry's immediate profession of curbside pickup, he's opening a recycle center, which is in progress.

"It's just a big open lot with machinery in it, all the tools we could possibly need and an industrial vinyl tent. It's located right next to Costco about 500 ft. past the (Alaska) Brewing Company on Shane Dr. We have containers for storage, and store the cardboard until we can bale and ship it out," he said.

LT's Recycling hopes to work out shipping with AML but nothing is finalized yet.

"We're also working with Weyerhaeuser, a big industrial company that buys recycled goods out of Seattle," Terry said.

"Dave Kumar (of Weyerhaeuser) is going to bring contracts with him; a lease for equipment and sales goods, and contract a baler to lease. He's going to come here to make sure it's worth his while," he said.

Terry plans on opening the recycle center later in the summer.

"We don't have adequate space for it right now. The person who actually owns the lot is opening another lot across the street and is going to move a bunch of his stuff, and we will have a lot more space. Once that happens we will be ready to rock!" he said.

"I'm not going to charge people to bring their stuff (to recycle center)," he said.

In addition to curbside pickup for businesses, Terry plans on offering residential service.

"As soon as I have 300 people interested, then we'll do it," he said.

Like Arrow Refuse, customers will set recyclable goods on curb, and LT's Recycling provides pickup service on alternative days. His program will have people put out on their recyclable goods, and the company will separate recyclables after pickup.

"The more people I can get involved the cheaper it will be," he said.

Interested customers can call in, and receive quotes.

"It satisfies me to see how many people are interested and want to get involved in recycling, and to know that I'm providing a service that makes recycling convenient. Not everybody wants to drive out to the Recycling Center," Terry said.

TBMP's curbside pickup program includes five garbage bags of separated recyclable waste and 15 square feet of cardboard; it's self-funded by members.

"The recycling program is a big initiative," Day said. "I just sent a letter to everybody to sign up-it's already started."