Tag Archives: Recycling

Green Star looks for volunteers for electronic recycling event

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, September 14, 2010:

Instead of tossing that old computer or printer into the trash, Interior Alaska Green Star suggests that you take it to the annual Fall Electronics Recycling Event Sept. 24-25 at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds.
Aged electronics of all sorts will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
There are small fees charged to offset the dismantling costs. One of the benefits is that the toxic materials in the old equipment are kept out of the landfill.
More than 115 tons of electronics have been recycled over the past four years through the regular Green Star recycling efforts. The total will go up next weekend.
“Items that will be accepted include: computers, monitors, laptops, printers, scanners, fax machines, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, cell phones, batteries, microwaves, answering machines, electric typewriters, and more,” says Andrea Miller of the local Green Star group.
If you would like to volunteer to help with this project, go to www.iagreenstar.org, call 452-4152 or write to info@greenstar.org.
If you are looking for reasons to participate, Green Star says that the volume of electronics is not the biggest disposal problem. The toxic elements are a bigger long-term threat to the environment.

Many communities have banned the disposal of electronics in landfills to avoid pollution problems.

“For example, a typical desktop computer (hard-drive and 17? CRT monitor) weighs 60 lbs and contains 2 to 4 pounds of lead. Many monitors and TVs use Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) to produce sharp images. The glass screen in each monitor contains lead to shield the user from radiation produced by the CRT. Other toxic substances found in electronic devices include mercury, cadmium, copper, lithium, brominates flame-retardants, and phosphorus,” Green Star says.
“Fairbanks has a lined landfill for regular waste. The leachate that is generated is collected, tested, and if it passes disposal requirements is then pumped to the local waste water plant for disposal. Your groundwater is being protected, but e-waste can be better disposed of by recycling through local Green Star e-waste recycling events.”

Fairbanks Rescue Mission’s Recycling Center celebrates anniversary

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, September 4, 2010:

The Fairbanks Rescue Mission celebrates the first anniversary of its recycling center today with a barbecue and open house starting at noon.

Executive director Rodney Gaskins will be available to guide things along. Visitors might get to check out the baler that compacts the cardboard, mixed papers and aluminum the center receives. One bale of cardboard can weigh 800 pounds, while a bale of mixed paper can weigh about 1,700 pounds.

“It’s a mark of success,” Gaskins said of reaching the one-year mark.

The center surpassed its millionth pound of recycled materials in July and expects to hit 1.5 million pounds by the end of this month. The recycled paper is sent to Anchorage to become insulation, and the aluminum stays in Fairbanks where it’s sold to C&R Pipe and Steel Inc.

So far, the program is paying for itself. “A nonprofit is mission-driven,” he said, “we’re successful whether we’re making money or not.”

The plan was for the Rescue Mission to take baby steps at least until it had one year under its belt. Now he believes the recycling center can take the next big step.

“We really wanted to start small,” Gaskins said.

As he put it: “Don’t start a restaurant until you have the capability of managing a hot dog stand really well.”

The center plans to expand in the near future by adding plastics to the list of materials that can be recycled but that can’t now because of insufficient storage space.

“For us, it means that we have been able to build a sustainable recycle program,” said John Lofquist, who works at the center. “It’s allowed Fairbanks to have a recycle option.”

The center will operate at its regular hours during today’s celebration; it will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Green ways to go back to school

From earthshare.org:

We all know instilling good habits is easiest when we’re young, so more and more parents and educators are working to make kids aware of the importance of caring for our planet. As kids get ready to return to school in the fall here are some simple tips to encourage sustainable habits and support a healthy environment….and healthy kids!

Start with the basics. Remind kids to turn off the lights in the bathroom or any unoccupied room at home and at school. Encourage them to throw away any trash they find on the school playground, tell them to use both sides of their notebook paper, and suggest that they save unused chalk and art supplies.

Lunch break. Pack kids’ lunches in lunch pails or canvas bags instead of throwaway paper bags. Consider re-using plastic sandwich bags, or only using durable plastic containers. Be sure containers are safe however, as some plastic lunch boxes contain harmful toxins such as PVCs (read the Center for Health, Environment and Justice’s PVC back to school guide here). You can also try to find creative ways to re-purpose items in your home.

Continue reading: Green ways to go back to school

University of Alaska Fairbanks summer class learns new log construction technique

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, July 30, 2010:

FAIRBANKS — Most sheds aren’t much to look at. But the new cordwood garden shed at the Georgeson Botanical Gardens could almost pass for a Victorian stone building from afar, sitting on a hill among a riot of red and pink poppies and giant sunflowers.

It was actually built of recycled telephone poles by 16 students taking a cordwood masonry workshop through the University of Alaska Fairbanks summer session.

The 8-by-8 foot frame was filled with about 20 workers constructing walls out of logs, mortar and sawdust. The walls stood about one foot wide and two feet high Wednesday afternoon. Cordwood masonry uses mortar to cement together short, round pieces of wood — like firewood — with their ends pointing out, incorporating creative patterns and mixed materials.

“Most people haven’t heard of it, but it’s been around for hundreds of years,” said Rob Roy, who taught the class with his wife Jaki. The couple owns a green building school in upstate New York. They have built multiple cordwood homes and teach workshops around the country. Roy, who gave a talk Monday at UAF on affordable home ownership, promotes cordwood masonry as a sustainable, low-cost and creative style of architecture.

Using recycled materials is one way to lower costs and environmental impact.

Continue reading: University of Alaska Fairbanks summer class learns new log construction technique

When You Entertain, How Do You Green Your Event?

From Mother Earth News, Friday, July 16, 2010:

From napkins and servingware to bottles of wine and flowers for the table, there are dozens ways to unintentionally create waste (and find items you can spend money on) when hosting an event — whether you’re entertaining a few friends for dinner or throwing the shindig of the season. Fortunately, there are just as many ways to give a great party (mellow or rockin’) while minimizing the monetary and environmental cost.

Continue reading: When You Entertain, How Do You Green Your Event?

Retired Fairbanks veterinarian leads recycling commission

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Monday, June 28, 2010:

Fairbanks puts almost all its paper, glass and plastic in the trash. Karl Monetti dares you to come up alternatives — convince him and six other commissioners that you can recycle at a sustained level, and public managers might give you the green light. Help local government cut waste-management costs in the process, and you could get paid. 

The seven — comprising Fairbanks’ six-month-old public Recycling Commission — have been meeting every few weeks downtown. But the group has heard only two proposals, and members are ready to get to work. 

The group has plenty to do — public education curricula to draft, perhaps, and a budget to address for sure. 

But Monetti said his big hope is to see one successful commercial recycling project within the year. Maybe someone could open a business shredding paper to make insulation, as is done in Anchorage, or crush glass for use in construction materials. Just one success story could spark something bigger, said Monetti, the commission’s chairman. 

Towers and turbines have regulations, too


By CCHRC Staff

The “Ask a Builder” series is dedicated to answering some of the many questions Fairbanks residents have about building, energy and the many other parts of home life.

Q: Are there any regulations I need to know about before I put up a wind tower, or can I put one up anywhere?

Wind technology has been around for a long time but is only now truly growing among the consumer sector, so the laws and regulations are still developing as well. There are few regulations pertaining to wind turbines specifically, but there are regulations pertaining to towers in general.

If the tower is more than 200 feet tall, it must have a light on top to meet FAA regulations. If the tower is part of another building, construction regulations come into play, as there are some stipulations on the height of structures on properties. Consult the local building departments and learn about planning and zoning considerations. These regulations are looked at on a case-by-case basis because the subdivision, zoning and other factors must be considered.

Even though there are few regulations when it comes to wind turbines specifically, do not disregard aesthetics and potential noise. Also do not leave your neighbors out of the process. They may have some questions or concerns or may just want to know how a nearby wind turbine will affect them.

Q: Where can I recycle metal locally?

The most common metals people have are aluminum cans and tin cans.

There are many places aluminum cans are accepted in the interior. Nonprofit organizations like the Lion’s Club, Fairbanks Resource Agency and Joy Elementary will take them because they can be turned in for money. The Fairbanks Rescue Mission also accepts cans as part of its recycling program.

Aluminum can go straight to the metal recyclers such as C&R Pipe and Steel and K&K Recycling.

Some of the FNSB transfer sites also have collection bins for aluminum.

Food cans are also accepted at metal recyclers (they do not pay out for tin cans like they do for aluminum). For all other types of metals, including automobiles and building materials, contact the local recyclers to see what they will accept. Some of the borough transfer sites will take other metals and items, like appliances, which have specially designated bins.

Alaska HomeWise articles promote home awareness for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). If you have a question, e-mail us at akhomewise@cchrc.org.You can also call the CCHRC at (907) 457-3454.

Waste Anchorage grease turned into biodiesel

From The Associated Press, Friday, June 18, 2010:

The Anchorage area’s private trash hauler, Alaska Waste, is picking up used food-frying oil and has started turning it into biodiesel to power its trucks.

The company showed off its new $3 million plant Thursday in south Anchorage where it turned out its first batch of biodiesel last week.

Alaska Waste is collecting oil from 240 restaurants, groceries, hotels and hospitals from Girdwood to Wasilla.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that previously most of the food grease from Anchorage had been dumped in landfills or barged to the Lower 48.

Alaska Waste built the plant to capitalize on a useful product, reduce air pollution and keep grease out of the landfill, said Jeff Riley, Alaska Waste’s chief operating officer. In the future, the company might team up with local fuel distributors to enable Anchorage residents to purchase some of the biodiesel. It creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than regular diesel, he said.

1 million pounds of recyclables have been collected at Fairbanks Rescue Mission

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Sunday, June 13, 2010:

Car after car pulled up to a line of bins sitting in a parking lot at a local homeless shelter. Some bins held paper. Some cardboard. Others aluminum.

It was Saturday, the busiest day of the week at the Fairbanks Rescue Mission Recycling Center. But it wasn’t just any Saturday. It was a day the 10-month-old recycling center hit a milestone.

The program collected its millionth pound of recyclables.

Soon, a forklift operator drove out of the warehouse carrying a bale of newspapers wrapped in plastic and topped with a big red bow.

Rodney Gaskins, executive director of the rescue mission, and seven others gathered around the bale and said a prayer.

Recycling isn’t the only work done at the center. The operation provides a place for rescue mission clients to sharpen their job skills and learn new skills, including forklift driving.

Fairbanks residents bring in 35 tons of recyclables during annual event

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Wednesday, June 9, 2010:

The second annual spring Recycling Round-Up brought in nearly 35 tons of various materials when it was hosted May 22 at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds. Interior Alaska Green Star dubbed the take a “huge success” for the young program.

The event brought in 675 cars in a day and resulted in drop-offs of the following household recyclables:

• 12,000 pounds of newspaper, mixed paper and cardboard, which will be baled and shipped to Anchorage for recycling;

• 800 pounds of aluminum, which is sold to C&R Pipe and Steel for recycling;

• An estimated 1,600 pounds of plastic, which Wal-Mart ships to its recycling centers in the Lower 48;

• C&R estimates 750 pounds of metal food cans and other scrap metals were collected;

• Nearly 11,000 pounds of glass were collected, which will be crushed and used as fill for a landscaping project, and delivered to K&K Recycling;

• Interior Alaska Green Star collected 38,000 pounds of electronics, which will be shipped to Seattle-based Total Reclaim for recycling;

• The Fairbanks North Star Borough Solid Waste Division collected a variety of household hazardous wastes, including antifreeze, paint and oil, for a total of nearly 4,000 pounds of waste.