On April 28, I was honored to attend the ALPAR Awards Banquet for our Environmental Department. Since it takes the full participation of the whole community, and the passion of our Directors, I wanted to share the script they presented for our award:
"Our next award recognizes exemplary efforts to further recycling in a community in Alaska. This year, ALPAR is honored to present the Outstanding Recycling Community award to one of the smallest communities in rural Alaska that has embraced environmental stewardship in a big way. This community has had a consistently successful recycling program operating the Flying Cans program with ALPAR since it inception in the 80’s, and helping us start the ALPAR Flying bottles program for recycling plastic bottles in 2010. Our award winner is the Village of Igiugig. Situated in Southwest Alaska at end of Lake Iliamna, Igiugig is a prime site for subsistence fishing and hunting, sport fishing, tourism, and travel.
"Being home to 69 people, Igiugig is a community with strong educational values, elder respect, and people with strong wills. These strong wills must be the secret to their success! And Christina Salmon has been the force that inspired this effort to continue and grow over the years. Today, Stacy Hill, IGAP Director makes sure that legacy goes forward.
"Recycling in a small, rural Alaska Community is challenging considering the work and expense that goes into handling and shipping materials. The Village Council leads the effort recycling aluminum cans, plastics, steel cans, glass, batteries and electronics with help from the Igiugig Can Crusher Club. In 2015, they sent 800 pounds of cans to Anchorage through ALPAR’s Flying Cans program using donated freight by PenAir and Northern Air Cargo. This is the highest per capita recycling rate in rural Alaska. And this is no accident. They are successful, in part, due to their great outreach program to educate and inform residents. Their spring newsletter included a full-page story on the benefits of recycling and how their program works. And they do more than recycling: Reusable items are kept out of the landfill and organics such as yard and vegetable waste are composted for use in the community greenhouse. They also raise chickens for the community and compost their dropping. Much of the waste typically destined for the landfill is diverted which means a smaller landfill and a reduced impact on the environment. The Igiugig landfill stands outs as one of the best and received a 96 percent on their most resent inspection by the State DEC.
"Being litter free is an important value in Igiugig and their Youth Litter Patrol program collects and recycles cans and bottles, too.
"We are honored that AlexAnna Salmon is here tonight to accept this award. We are pleased to recognize the Village of Igiugig, excellent recyclers who value protection of the environment. Please come to the podium, to accept this award with our gratitude."
Mary Fisher, Executive Director
Quyana for everyone’s dedication to recycling and keeping our homelands pristine.