Eagle River High School Green Club works to recycle holiday leftovers

People hold signs in front of a snowy dumpster in a cold, foggy parking lot
Eagle River High School Green Club members pose with a dumpster for cardboard and paper after Solid Waste Services dropped it off on Monday, Dec. 19. (Photo courtesy Clinton Holloway)

The holiday shopping season brings gifts, gadgets and — after everything has been unwrapped — lots of leftover cardboard boxes. An Eagle River High School club is trying to recycle that cardboard this year.

“The holidays, for all their beauty and glory, are a time of waste as well as wealth,” said Clinton Holloway, a 9th and 10th grade English teacher at Eagle River High and sponsor of the Green Club. “It’s kind of painful to look at all those overflowing trash cans with a bunch of paper products and whatnot. And so we decided, why don’t we try to get some of that reclaimed?”

For more than a decade, Green Club has worked to collect recyclables within the school. This year they partnered with the city’s Solid Waste Services to set up a cardboard dumpster on campus, where the community can bring their flattened boxes and paper to recycle. 

Vice president of the club, 17-year-old Jonathan Charlestream says they’ve spread the word online and with signs near the school.

“Green Club is always looking to not exactly solve climate change, but just provide resources to the community,” Charlestream said. “We know that it’s kind of hard, especially depending on where you live in Eagle River, to get access to recycling. So this is something that we’re trying to help out our community.”

Solid Waste Services recycling coordinator Kelli Toth wrote in an email that the Anchorage landfill has at most 50 years left before it’s full. To extend its life, she said, it’s important to keep as much recyclable material out of the landfill as possible.

Charlestream said the club is hoping to make the holiday recycling center a yearly tradition. The dumpster will be available for anyone to use until Dec. 30.

Kavitha George is Alaska Public Media’s climate change reporter. Reach her at kgeorge@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Kavitha here.

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