Questions often come up about the value of recycling both intrinsic and material. We all know (at least most of us) the moral reasons to recycle. That is to be a good steward of our resources, to conserve, to protect our natural beauty and allow future generations the same access to prosperity we enjoy today.
It is very important to keep the moral reasons in mind but equally important are the economic reasons. If you are trying to promote recycling, knowing the financial side of the argument is essential. The bottom line is the materials that are often thrown away in Anchorage and around the world are worth money!
That's right. A bail of cardboard is worth up to $600 dollars. Aluminum recycling is a billion dollar industry in this country. Bring a bag of aluminum cans to the Anchorage recycle center off Dowling and they will weigh it and cut you a check right there on the spot. Many people don't realize recycling often pays for itself.
In Anchorage, we have local businesses utilizing materials that are recycled right here in town. Thermo-Kool makes home insulation out of recycled newspaper. In the summer they sometimes can't get their hands on enough newspaper to keep up production. They also make Animal Bedding and Hydro Seed for growing grass.
EK Industries runs a glass plant in Anchorage using materials recycled in town as well. The crushed glass is used for sand blasting ships in Seward and as traction sand for the Alaska Railroad. In the Railroad’s case, they are saving thousands of dollars using the crushed glass opposed to importing the sand from out of state. The company has future plans to make counter tops and tile out of the recycled glass also.
These businesses are creating jobs off of something that would have otherwise been thrown in the landfill and using it for a good purpose.
Recycling is not just valuable for helping our environment but it is valuable for our whole community.