Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) is a volunteer-based community organization with a vision to establish the greater Mat-Su Borough as a model zero landfill community. VCRS provides the opportunity to recycle while educating all ages on the benefits of recycling and the importance of doing so correctly.
VCRS operates an extensive recycling program; we currently accept twelve categories of materials: mixed paper; office paper; shredded office paper; newspaper; corrugated cardboard; steel cans; aluminum cans; kitchen aluminum; plastic PET #1 bottles; HDPE # 2 jugs; PolyEthylene bags and film; and PP #5 containers.
In addition VCRS works with local entrepreneurs to use the resources recovered through our program to create products here in Alaska. All of our recycled newspaper is purchased by a local business where it is manufactured into products including cellulous insulation and hydroseed. They also buy our cardboard during construction season.
One of the most important things we provide at VCRS is a sense of community. Individuals and groups of volunteers, from all walks of life & different levels of ability, come through regularly to help in many ways, and they are all welcome to participate in what we do and know that they are an important part of, and reason for, the success of our organization. That creates a deep core of believers, and is wonderful and very special for all involved.
How Pick.Click.Give. makes a difference
Donations from Pick.Click.Give. (PCG) are used to maintain and grow our programs while sharing what we have learned with other Alaskan communities and encouraging creative ways to use these valuable resources for local economic development. Helping to create new products and jobs benefits not only the Mat-Su Valley, but the entire State of Alaska, as well. The PCG program gives us a wider audience of Alaskans, because we are the go-to model for recycling in the entire state.
VCRS works hard to maintain a sustainable program. We are well-known throughout the recycling industry as having the best product, making it easy for us to move our material as well as receive top dollar for our bales. Having a high quality product also means that if a local manufacturer wants to start a business making products from recycled resources, our material is ready to use. Working with the waste transfer sites in our outlying communities, recycling is now available in Talkeetna, Willow, Big Lake, and Sutton.
Our recycling center building is an organic representation of what we do in our facility. It was designed, constructed, and certified to perform to the U.S. Green Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Level. A classroom with windows overlooks the processing floor and bale storage area, so visitors of all ages can safely observe recycling in action. Students come to our center for fieldtrips throughout the year. Our recycling center is located by the Mat-Su Borough Central Landfill, so we are able to easily show the importance of reducing what is thrown away, since in reality, there is no such thing as ‘away’.
VCRS is developing an outdoor component of our education program. A tree identified as a birch modified in the historical tradition of the Athabascan culture is the starting point of our outdoor connection, allowing all visitors to share the beauty of our local environment and the negative impacts of landfilling on our environment. This tree can be seen from a window in our classroom. There is a short, nature trail loop behind our building, where people & creatures can enjoy, appreciate & soak in the peace & tranquility around us while admiring the many recycled art pieces that line the trail, thanks to the creativity of our staff and volunteers.