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Recycling leader Barton Intrinsically Linked to Sustainability of Recycling in Southcentral Alaska


Guy Thomas Barton July 11, 1954 – March 5, 2010

Guy Barton, longtime Alaska recycling leader, died March 5 at his home in Wasilla. Born in Boulder, Colorado, Guy attended Martin Park Elementary, Southern Hills Junior High School, and graduated from Fairview High School in 1972. After high school, Guy went to work as a miner in the Leadville and Silverton areas. Guy loved the wilderness and spent one summer horse packing into a Chicago Basin prospect in the Rocky Mountains. 

In 1976, Guy came to Alaska with his mining partner Mike to join the group of Colorado miners that had migrated north.  The group of twelve miners became close friends helping each other as they settled into Alaska. Guy and Mike worked construction and fishing while looking for jobs in their specialty as “vein followers” in the mines. While working on Kodiak Island and the waters off the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian, Guy met his wife Vera, the love of his life. Guy and Mike eventually found work at the Ester Dome gold mine north of Fairbanks.

Injuries suffered in mining and fishing convinced Guy to change careers and in 1984. He took a job with the Anchorage Recycling Center, quickly working his way up to become the plant manager. Guy had an understanding of recycling that only a miner can have concerning the physical effort it takes to extract the raw resources for production. Under Guy’s direction, the Anchorage Recycling Center grew into a self-sustaining operation, eventually purchased by the international Smurfit-Stone Recycling Company.

Over the years, Guy served on many boards, advised many organizations and guided recycling efforts across South Central Alaska. These groups include Green Star, Alaskans for Litter Prevention & Recycling, Anchorage Citizens for Recycling Solutions, the Municipality of Anchorage Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan, Recycling Our Areas Resources in Glennallen, Valley Community for Recycling Solutions in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Threshold Recycling in Kodiak, plus many more. He was recognized many times over the years for his leadership and contribution to recycling.

Guy helped start the Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) in 1998 and was a founding board member. Guy mentored VCRS from a fledgling all volunteer recycling group to a full on drop off and processing plant and through the design of the first Regional Resource Recovery & Training Park in Alaska. He educated our community, helping us understand what was recyclable and why and how to process and ship our material to industry standards.  The new facility will open its doors in October of this year. He served on the VCRS board full heartedly and assisted at the VCRS annual OCEAN luncheon the week prior to his death.

Guy had a lifelong passion for fishing, nurtured early in life by his mother on family vacations to Grand Mesa.  In Alaska, the nearly 24 hours of light were ideal for pursuing the trout, steelheads, salmon, and halibut of the Kenai Peninsula. Guy enjoyed the camaraderie of friends, always a good fishing story, and the beaches of Hawaii with his wife Vera.

Guy was preceded in death by his mother Norma Jean Barton and his wife Vera Barton.

He is survived by his father Harlan Barton and stepmother Judy Barton of Boulder; his brother Scott Barton and wife Laura of Boulder and brother Mark Barton and Katja Blomenkamp of Houston, Texas; nephews Andy and Casey Barton of Boulder and Wesley Barton of Houston; and stepdaughter Angie.

VCRS will host a celebration of life for Guy on Sunday, March 28 from 1PM to 3PM at 836 S. Colony Way, in Palmer.
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