#1 Plastic Clamshells No Longer Accepted in Curbside Recycling
ANCHORAGE—Due to changes in global recycling markets, #1 PETE plastic clamshells will no longer be accepted in any commingled curbside recycling. These changes go into effect immediately.
As a result of China’s recycling import ban there are no viable outlets for recycling plastic clamshells in Alaska or the West Coast.
“We regret having to eliminate a material from curbside recycling,” said Suzanna Caldwell, recycling coordinator for the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Solid Waste Services. “This was a difficult decision, but one that will make our recycling system more efficient.”
Anchorage began accepting clamshells in curbside recycling in 2017. The clear plastic clamshells are mostly commonly found in fruit and vegetable packaging. Clamshells are not accepted at any recycling drop-off sites.
The clamshells make up less than 1 percent of what is collected in curbside recycling.
Approximately 500 tons of curbside recycling are collected every month. The material is shipped from Anchorage to the Lower 48 on donated backhaul from shippers where it is then sorted and brought to market for manufacturing into recycled products.
The change in service applies to all curbside recycling regardless of the provider. Alaska Waste, Blue Arctic Waste and Solid Waste Services all currently offer curbside recycling.
All other recyclables are still allowed in curbside collection. This includes #1 plastic bottles, #2 plastic jugs, aluminum cans, steel cans, mixed paper, newspaper and cardboard.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.