History of Interior Alaska Green Star
Green Star began in 1990 as a cooperative effort between the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the nonprofit Alaska Center for the Environment to promote green business practices. This diverse group of state regulators, environmentalists and business leaders created the Green Star Award program to give positive recognition to organizations which exercise environmental responsibility.
In 1995, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce initiated a chapter of the Green Star program, closely following the model of the original Anchorage program. The Fairbanks chapter became an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization known as Interior Alaska Green Star (IAGS) in 1998. At the height of the program in Fairbanks, over 80 businesses, agencies and schools in the Fairbanks area participated in the Interior Alaska Green Star Award program.
Focus on Recycling
In 2006, faced with limited recycling options in Fairbanks, Interior Alaska Green Star restructured its programs to focus on developing and promoting recycling programs in the Fairbanks community.
In the past 6 years, IAGS has achieved many recycling goals, including the following accomplishments:
- Established a successful Electronics Recycling Program, based on bi-annual collection events in partnership with the Fairbanks North Star Borough, various transportation companies, and local community businesses and organizations. Since our first collection in April 2006, we have collected and shipped over 175 tons of electronics to our recycler, Total Reclaim, Inc.
- Opened our new Electronics Recycling Depot in June, 2011. This depot is open on the third weekend of every month (Friday and Saturday) to collect unwanted electronics from the community for recycling. The depot provides consistent, year-round access to electronics recycling for the Fairbanks community.
- Initiated an ongoing partnership with the Tanana Valley State Fair Association to implement a recycling program at the annual Fair every August. In 2006, IAGS purchased 40 recycling bins through a grant from ALPAR and organized volunteers to harvest aluminum cans and cardboard throughout the Fair for recycling. We have continued this recycling program every year since then, to ensure that recycling option exist for the many fair-goers. In 2011, we received a grant of an additional 40 recycling bins from Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful to expand our program – we collected 450 pounds of aluminum and 670 pounds of plastic bottles for recycling!
- Introduced the spring Recycling Round-Up in May, 2009. For this event, we invited a number of local businesses and organizations to join us in a one-day collection event for reusable and recyclable goods. We encouraged residents to use this opportunity to Spring Clean their homes and yards and turn all that “waste” into something useful. In 2010, this event collected approximately 35 tons of material for reuse or recycling from 675 participants.
Outreach and Education
- Produced a list of reuse and recycling opportunities in the community, now called “Recycling Options in Fairbanks”. We first published this list in the fall of 2006, and have updated it regularly since then. This document has proved to be a valuable tool for local residents searching for information about how and where to recycle in our community.
- Published the first edition of the new “Fairbanks Recycling Guide” in August 2011. This full-color, multi-page booklet includes much of the information from our original recycling list, with the additional maps, charts, and lists to help community members navigate the recycling scene in Fairbanks. The guide was updated in February 2012 and distributed as an insert in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
- Provided presentations about electronics recycling, composting, and other sustainability topics at local schools and other venues. In 2008, we made fifteen classroom presentations and reached 202 students. We also provide outreach and information about these topics at informational booths at the Tanana Valley State Fair and other events and venues throughout the community.
As we begin 2012, we are proud of our new accomplishments and we look forward to continuing to expand our programs for the Fairbanks community. Some of our goals for the coming year include:
- Expand community participation in the Electronics Recycling program, especially from the business community
- Publish a new edition of the Fairbanks Recycling Guide in the fall of 2012
- Expand our Educational Programs
- Re-engage the local business community in the Green Star Award program