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Thanks to a newly awarded grant, the Copper River Watershed Project (CRWP) is spearheading efforts to enhance recycling initiatives — particularly targeting aluminum cans. 

With close to $3,000 in funding from the Cordova Community Foundation, the project aims to make recycling more accessible and impactful within the community. The CRWP has also partnered with the Cordova Chamber of Commerce and the City of Cordova to launch the initiative.  

While the initiative involves minimal investment in purchasing additional recycling containers, the focus lies on surveying high-volume aluminum producers and making recycling more streamlined. 

The Cordova Chamber of Commerce is offering crucial support to this project in various capacities. For one, the chamber is housing a variety of recycling receptacles, which will be strategically placed at community events and made available for free rental to local businesses and individuals. Reusable dinnerware (dinner and salad/dessert plates, bowls, and flatware) is also available for free rental, adding another layer to the revamped recycling program.   

Kate Morse, program director for CRWP says, “I’m excited to have a partnership with the chamber, which is connected to businesses and has an effective outreach/marketing strategy to help inform and engage Cordova in recycling more aluminum.” 

According to executive director Cathy Renfeldt, the Chamber of Commerce is “actively engaged in outreach efforts, targeting high-volume aluminum users such as processors, schools, healthcare providers, bars, and restaurants.” 


Efforts are also underway to improve aluminum recycling signage and labeling around town, particularly at the city baler on Whitshed Road, where community members are encouraged to take their aluminum. This is because it is easier to deal with aluminum already at the baler, rather than have to haul the dumpster by AC back to the baler and replace it with a new one. 

Community members should know that CRWP’s ability to recycle the baled fishing web is heavily reliant on its paired shipment with baled aluminum — the highest-value recyclable material on the market. Aluminum gets sold and the money raised helps to offset the cost of getting the gill net to recycling facilities. 

While outreach efforts are just beginning, initial responses from the public have been overwhelmingly positive. As the project gains momentum, residents and businesses alike are encouraged to participate actively, with rental options for recycling tools set to roll out as early as this week.    

This story was originally published in the March 29 issue of The Cordova Times.