Revamping Cordova’s Recycling Program: How To Get Involved

Revamping Cordova’s Recycling Program: How To Get Involved

CRWP staff and volunteers gatheing used fishing web for their popular fishing web recycling program. Photo courtesy Copper River Watershed Project

For over two decades, aluminum product recycling has been available for Cordovans, but few participated in the program. Pairing the popular Fishing Web Recycling Program with aluminum recycling has made the Aluminum Recycling Program more accessible than ever. When Cordova recycles aluminum cans, the proceeds are used to offset the costs associated with recycling Cordova’s fishing web.

In 2002, the Copper River Watershed Project (CRWP) helped get the Aluminum Can Recycling Program started in Cordova with the motto “Cordova Recycles, You Can Too!” This recycling campaign involved purchasing dumpsters for aluminum recycling, diverting this recyclable material from the usual waste disposal stream. In 2019, CRWP secured funding to acquire a baler that the City of Cordova now uses for baling aluminum cans. This baler is also utilized to bale fishing nets as part of our Fishing Gear Recycling Program.

Through an established partnership with the City of Cordova, a cost-effective solution was created to transport and sell Cordova’s aluminum products. The revenue generated from our aluminum can recycling offsets the expenses of recycling fishing gear, bolstering both programs.

Increasing recycling efforts for two very high-volume, recyclable products here in town creates a more sustainable economy for Cordova. By participating in aluminum can recycling, Cordovans can prolong the lifespan of the local landfill by decreasing the fishing web and aluminum product load. Unfortunately, aluminum sent to our landfill can take up space for more than 500 years before oxidizing. If we bale our recyclable aluminum, it can be recycled and repurposed into useful items.

With the help of the Cordova Community Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Cordova, we now have the opportunity to expand this Aluminum Can Recycling Program. Funding from the Cordova Community Foundation and contributions from the Cordova Chamber of Commerce and other partners will help CRWP purchase additional aluminum can-specific recycling containers, cover transportation costs, and facilitate the participation of high-volume aluminum users.

The Cordova Chamber of Commerce is supporting the recycling program by donating a large recycling receptacle, storing all large and small recycling receptacles and reusable dinnerware, and promoting and organizing the free rental of these resources to local businesses and individuals for use at their events to encourage reuse and recycling in the community. The Chamber also provides outreach to local businesses and organizations about this new recycling program, including targeted outreach to high-volume aluminum users

The City of Cordova Public Works is dedicated to this program but would like to see more local businesses and residents join the effort, “We have been partnering with the Copper River Watershed Project to overcome logistical barriers of collecting and shipping recyclable material out of Cordova. By recycling your aluminum cans, you are helping to extend the lifespan of our landfill. Because aluminum has a high value as a recycled material, we can also sell it and use the funding to help offset the cost of recycling fishing gear.

Fishing web disposed of in our landfill not only takes up space but is also especially hard on equipment and puts strain on our already maxed-out department resources. Thanks for doing your part to provide aluminum cans ready for recycling, which helps us maximize the value of this infinitely renewable resource.”

Help us expand recycling efforts in Cordova by recycling your aluminum cans and fishing web and together we can take a positive step towards a brighter future for our community. Learn more about CRWP’s recycling programs by visiting their website at