VOLUME 33, NUMBER 8
Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co.
Managing Editor Kathryn Mackenzie
Associate Editor Tasha Anderson
Art Director David Geiger
Art Production Linda Shogren
Photo Contributor Judy Patrick
President Billie Martin
VP & General Manager Jason Martin
VP Sales & Marketing Charles Bell
Advertising Account Manager Janis J. Plume
Advertising Account Manager Holly Parsons
Advertising Account Manager Christine Merki
Accounting Manager Ana Lavagnino
Customer Service Representative Emily Olsen
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FROM THE EDITOR
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Since the early 1970s that slogan has been used to bring awareness to increasing air pollution, wa- ter contamination, and unchecked waste. In many parts of the
Lower 48, recycling is not just second nature, it’s expected. Instead of
pushing one garbage bin the curb for pickup, residents line up their
municipality-provided recycling bins with their contents meticulous-
ly separated into paper, plastic, glass, and “other.”
In Alaska, where less than 5 percent of the population recycles,
“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” requires a fourth “R”: Rethink. The “re-thinking”
is that it will benefit Alaska’s communities to take a new look at waste,
whether that’s working to minimize the logistical challenges that
stand in the way of moving, storing, or recycling waste appropriately
or discovering new ways recycling can serve as an economic and
At its most basic, recycling is defined as converting waste products into
new products: sounds simple. But Alaskans know that in the Last Frontier
it’s rare that any endeavor is simple. Improving our recycling record will
require Alaskan fortitude, creativity, and a strong desire to make a difference; and because those characteristics already exist throughout the state
in each community, the foundation for change has already been laid.
Alaska is home to more than 200 municipal landfills and an additional 115 waste storage, treatment, or disposal facilities that support
Alaska industries, including oil and gas, mining, timber, construction,
fishing, and tourism, according to the State of Alaska’s Division of Environmental Health Solid Waste Program website. No matter the amount
of space available, the need remains to keep recyclable materials out
of Alaska’s landfills. The longer our landfills work for their communities, the better—not just because constructing a new landfill is costly
but because in most cases, it’s not necessary: not if we rethink how
we handle our “garbage.” For example, in a recent road project in Anchorage, glass waste was diverted from the landfill, crushed, and used
as clean fill without any additional cost to the project. Everyone wins.
Much like recycling waste, Alaska’s residents are also focused on recycling and rethinking how they create and use energy. Communities
statewide are realizing the benefits of turning glass, metal, and paper into
reusable materials and finding renewable sources of energy. Especially in
the state’s most rural areas, such as the small Alaska Native community
of Hughes. Locals are taking advantage of energy resources including
biomass fuel, which uses organic materials (in this case wood) as a renewable and sustainable source of energy to produce electricity. Hughes
is also a prime example of hybrid energy at work. The community of
no more than ninety people uses a mix of biomass, solar, and diesel to
power and heat its homes, school, church, and tribal offices. (Quick note:
Look for a feature story on touring Hughes in our September issue).
In this issue we look at how rural villages across the state are
rethinking how to reuse, recycle, and reduce waste. We also examine renewable and hybrid energy sources and offer up examples of
how alternative energy is making an economic difference in Alaska’s
communities. While oil is and will remain the backbone of Alaska’s
economy and a primary source of fuel and energy production, the
state’s energy needs are growing, making room for diversified energy
sources such as wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass boilers, all
of which can help reduce energy costs in communities that badly
need a break from the high cost of... everything.
In addition to our Environmental Services and Energy & Power
Special Sections, the August issue features a special guest column on
the state of housing in Anchorage, the final entry of an exceptional,
three-part series on Alaska’s burgeoning graphic design industry, and
how Alaska became a premier travel destination for Chinese tourists.
—Kathryn Mackenzie, Managing Editor, Alaska Business