Plastic bottle recycled flower

All photos courtesy of revAmp Recycle resTore art show

America Recycles Day“The nice thing about artists is they have a different way of interpreting things,” says Donna Mears, Recycling Coordinator for the Municipality of Anchorage (AK) Solid Waste Services. “One of the big parts of recycling awareness is getting people to think differently about what they use.” That ability is what spurred Mears and other recycling advocates in Anchorage to plan the revAmp Recycle resTore art show in honor of America Recycles Day. The show kicked off during Anchorage’s First Friday Art Walk on November 4.

IceFloe recycled art

Nearly 40 pieces are being displayed at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art. Each contains at least 90% recycled materials. Exhibits run the gamut from sculptures to pictures. “It’s a really comprehensive show,” Mears says. “We’ve gotten some high-quality pieces.” The show will run until Sunday, November 27. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. It is made possible with support from Solid Waste Services; Green Star, a nonprofit educational organization; Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling; and Central Recycling Services, a construction and demolition recycling company. Mears says she pushed the artists to think outside the box when putting together their pieces. Her co-worker was designing a picture of a rooster made from old keys. She was going to mount it on a new piece of wood, but Mears challenged her to find a secondhand material for backing. She ended up using a recycled cabinet door and was quite pleased with the results.

Fancy Rooster recycled art

Anchorage residents have done something to mark America Recycles Day for the past several years. Last year, they organized a flash mob at a local mall. If this year’s show is successful it may become an annual event, Mears says. Recycling awareness and education is still a big issue in Alaska’s largest city. Until three years ago, Anchorage had no curbside recycling service. Anyone who wanted to recycle had to haul materials themselves. Advocates pushed hard for a curbside program and finally succeeded in 2008. “The recycling climate has changed a lot in the past few years,” Mears says. “We’re getting more businesses interested in recycling, too.”

recycled goldfish purse

Other events to commemorate America Recycles Day in Anchorage include the early holiday gift sale at the Alaska Botanical Garden, which will feature recycled products and several events for children. To raise awareness about the issue in other cities, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has declared November 15 “Alaska Recycles Day.”

Midnight Moon recycled art