Valley recycling organizations took home big prizes at the 36th annual Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR) on May 2 at the Aviation Museum in Anchorage.

ANCHORAGE — Valley recycling organizations took home big prizes at the 36th annual Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR) on May 2 at the Aviation Museum in Anchorage with a theme of “May the recycling force be with you.”

“The ALPAR awards bring awareness to Alaskans about the importance of preventing and cleaning up litter and recycling our waste as well as continually developing better business methods that lend to sustainable and beautiful communities,” wrote ALPAR Executive Director Mary Fisher in an email.

Fisher said that Alaskans become increasingly aware of the trash that accumulated over the winter once breakup is complete.

“Alaskans have always been highly motivated to deal with that quickly and enthusiastically in the spring. Maybe it’s partly because spring is such an important season to Alaskans. It’s the end of winter, it’s a big deal,” Fisher said.

The big winner on the night was the Denali National Park Zero Landfill Initiative which won the Joe Gulley President’s award for outstanding leadership. The nationwide initiative was created to manage the over 100 million pounds of trash that accumulate in National Parks. Denali was chosen as one of the pilot parks with Yosemite National Park and the Grand Teton National Park. The Valley Center for Recycling Services has been instrumental in helping with that initiative.

“Materials for all of that comes to us and we’ve worked in collaboration with them to make the program successful,” said VCRS Executive Director Mollie Boyer.

VCRS has grown throughout the years to be able to accommodate recycling programs in from Talkeetna, Willow, Big Lake and Sutton.

“Now with this facility we can handle it. We were able to start supporting the outlying communities to get transfers,” Boyer said.

Mid-Valley Recycling President Patti Fisher accepted their award for outstanding service. Mid-Valley was founded by Sammy Taylor in 2012 when they constructed the recycling station and began taking the recyclables to VCRS.

“Our goal is not to grow, our org our goal is to help be a part of the effectiveness of all of our litter programs and recycling programs statewide, and many of those programs are growing and growing with our help. So I think our momentum as far in our partnerships and support is growing yes year to year,” said Mary Fisher.

Valley organizations are all over the list of past ALPAR award winners.

The City of Wasilla won Outstanding Recycling Community in 2010 and the Outstanding Youth Litter Patrol in 2015. The Colony High School JROTC won the outstanding service award and the City of Palmer won the Outstanding Litter Program in 2012. Janet Kincaid won the Leadership in Education award in 2016. Fisher said that the momentum from wanting to clean up trash after spring breakup is something she wants to see last year round.

“The enthusiasm plus the litter program creates an alchemy of action, and it’s the enthusiasm for spring and the extent of a whole winter season worth of accumulated litter,” Fisher said. “We do education programs as well as all of the community organizations that do the boots on the ground cleanups. They’re doing education too. They educate the youth about the importance of not littering, they do these cleanups so the general public can see how important it is to keep litter off of the roads and streets and be mindful of where our trash is going. People are getting on board with that more.”

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