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 Anchorage Takes the Can Challenge in April 


3/30/2012 | Contact: Lindsey Spinelli 343-7133
Mayor's Office

For a second year, the Municipality of Anchorage, with the help of the Municipality’s Solid Waste Services (SWS), is promoting a national recycling challenge.  The Cans for Cash™ City Recycling Challenge is a national contest that rewards U.S. cities for recycling aluminum beverage cans.

The Challenge is sponsored by a partnership of the United States Conference of Mayors, Novelis Corporation, and Keep America Beautiful, Inc.SWS is encouraging all Anchorage residents to “Take the Can Challenge” by recycling as many aluminum beverage cans as possible during the month of April (April 1 – 28). 

“There are dozens of places around Anchorage to recycle aluminum,” says Mayor Dan Sullivan. “That makes it easy to recycle and recycling aluminum makes a big difference.”

“During the last Can Challenge in 2010, we recycled almost 50,000 pounds of cans,” says Municipality of Anchorage Solid Waste Services recycling coordinator Jeanne Carlson.  “That’s 0.17 pounds of cans for each person in Anchorage.  Last year’s winning community recycled 3.15 pounds per capita. Let’s try to top that!”

Data will be gathered from each of the recyclers in Anchorage at the end of the month and submitted to the challenge organizers.  Winners will be announced in June 2012.  More than 40 communities are already signed up for the challenge.  Let’s see how Anchorage stacks up!

Prizes are awarded in two categories – “most cans collected” and ”most innovative ideas.”  Anchorage is competing in the “most cans collected” category. Winning cities are determined by the ratio of the city population to the total number of cans recycled.  For the most cans collected, first prize is $25,000, second prize is $15,000, and third prize is $5,000.

Drop-off locations for recycling aluminum cans:

  • Anchorage Recycling Center (open 24/7), at 6301 Rosewood St., off Dowling Rd., Anchorage
  • Anchorage Regional Landfill recycling area (open during landfill hours) at Glenn Hwy. and Hiland Rd., Eagle River
  • Carrs store parking lots (open 24/7), Anchorage and Eagle River
  • Hilltop Recycling (call for business hours, 696-2246), 16849 Old Glenn Hwy., Chugiak
  • Schnitzer Steel (call for business hours, 349-4833), 9705 King St., Anchorage
  • Total Reclaim (call for business hours, 561-0544), 12101 Industry Way, Unit #C4, Anchorage.

Residents with curbside recycling service can continue to recycle aluminum cans in their curbside carts.  These cans will be included in the final tally as well.

Factoids about aluminum can recycling (courtesy of the Aluminum Association):

  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.
  • More than 50% of the aluminum cans produced are recycled. That’s an average of 113,204 aluminum cans every minute.
  • Aluminum is a durable and sustainable metal; two-thirds of the aluminum ever produced is in use today.
  • Making new aluminum cans from used cans uses 95% less energy and 20 recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.
  • Last year, 54 billion cans were recycled saving energy equivalent to 15 million barrels of crude oil – America’s entire gas consumption for one day.
  • Throwing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline.
  • The average employee consumes 2.5 beverages a day while at work.

More information about recycling in Anchorage can be found at  Or contact SWS Recycling Coordinators Jeanne Carlson at 343-6274, or Donna Mears at 343-6275,

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