Aleutian communities to receive over $4 million for recycling projects
The Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska, the Aleut Corp. and the Aleutian-Pribilof Islands Association are slated to receive more than $4 million total for regional waste management and recycling programs.
In November, the three Aleutian organizations were named as recipients in the Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling grant program. SWIFR grants go toward dozens of recycling projects in communities and tribes across the country.
According to a press release, the Qawalangin Tribe plans to use SWIFR funds to build an Aleutian Islands regional recycling hub and educate the public on the recycling process. Currently, the tribe offers an aluminum can recycling program, but recycling in Unalaska is limited overall.
Dealing with waste in Alaska’s remote communities can be challenging, and Adak — the westernmost municipality in the United States — is no exception. But the Aleut Corp. plans to use a $1.5 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for infrastructure to improve solid waste management and recycling on the island.
The grant for Adak will fund new equipment, as well as military debris cleanup, said Julie Toomey, vice president of regional affairs for the Aleut Corp. The city faces challenges disposing of materials left behind during past military operations.
“We're going to upgrade one of our buildings with new garage doors to secure waste and purchase some critical machinery such as an excavator and a baler,” Toomey said.
Some of the funds are slated for finding an off-island recycling facility that can transfer and process debris.
APIA will use SWIFR funds to create a regional plan to cut back on landfill use and burning. The Aleut Corp. plans to provide APIA with information and use new equipment on Adak to support the region-wide efforts for the recycling program, Toomey said.
It will be some time still before the program on Adak is fully implemented, Toomey said, noting that she anticipates new equipment will be selected and moved onto the island by the summer of 2025.