Annual Ocean Luncheon Hosted By VCRS Recycling Champions

Contributed by Brandy Graham

The annual Ocean Luncheon, hosted by the Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS), was swimming with activity at Evangelo’s in Wasilla on Thursday, February 23rd. The crowd was bristling full of community and business leaders showing their enthusiastic commitment and support to the recycling center for the upcoming year. 

This year’s event allowed several “celebrity” hosts to come out for an afternoon and eat a delicious lunch from Evangelo’s, watch a wearable arts show by the Valley Arts Alliance, win door prize raffles and see prizes awarded for the top three tables of supporters that came together and donated the most to continue the recycling efforts. 
The amazing attendees and sponsors include:
•    BP
•    Friends of Janet Kincaid
•    Alaska Waste
•    WestRock Recycling
•    Susitna Energy
•    ALPAR
•    Walmart
•    MEA
•    Hub International  
•    MVFCU
•    First National Bank
•    Mat-Su Health Foundation
•    MTA
•    Alaska USA FCU
•    Renewable Energy Systems
•    Knik Tribal Council
•    F-E Contracting

The VCRS started back in 1998 as a quarterly recycling one-stop grass roots effort to encourage recycling and to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste going into our landfill. Today it has blossomed into a fully functioning non-profit recycling facility that kept over 1600 tons of materials out of our landfill last year alone! As our valley community continues to grow and expand, so will the need to reduce the amount of waste entering the landfill, making our VCRS an even more crucial and invaluable asset to our community. VCRS has several key strategies that help to make a difference.  

Our Strategies: OCEAN

•    Opportunity: Provide easily accessible opportunities to recycle.
•    Community: Promote and maintain a sense of community.
•    Education: Educate community re: reduce, reuse and recycle.
•    Advocacy: Advocate for public policies that support reducing, reusing and recycling.
•    Non-profit: Provide a comprehensive reliable recycling program to our community, putting our profits back into our program as a public service non-profit organization.

VCRS also shared their new mission statement and vision for the future, which were unveiled in October of 2016. Our new vision is to establish the Mat-Su Borough as a model zero landfill community. And our new mission is to operate a cutting edge Resource Recovery and Training Park while educating, training and fostering partnerships to reduce, reuse and recycle for the long term good of all. 

Because the recycling center’s capacity has grown, recycling is reaching exciting new places in the Valley. At the Talkeetna, Willow, Big Lake, and now Sutton waste transfer sites, there are roll-offs for recycling available to receive materials when local community volunteers are on site. As we look to the future, the more we recycle the cleaner our communities will be and the more we can keep out of the costly landfill. Remember, there is no away. 

A special thank you to all sponsors, hosts and guests for your continued support. Together we are turning it around!