Alaska town bans longtime practice of scavenging at dump

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One of Alaska's largest rural hubs is seeing the end of a decades-long tradition: Residents are no longer allowed to "shop" by scavenging at the city landfill.

The recent clampdown in Bethel comes amid concerns that dangerous conditions at the dump were creating a liability in the community of 6,200 in western Alaska.

City manager Ann Capela says the change is about safety and risk management.

Landfill experts in the Lower 48 say letting people wander around freely at a U.S. landfill is a practice harkening to another time. They say it would be a rare exception today in an industry that has been highly regulated for decades.

But to longtime Bethel dump user Tom McCallson, the change implemented about a month ago is irritating because scavenging has been so convenient.

The ban was first reported by KYUK-AM.