Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

The next time you unwrap a candy bar or rip open a bag of chips, think about saving those crinkly wrappers. Recycle boxes are now available for those items at all three schools in the Denali Borough.

The wrappers will be sent to a company called TerraCycle and made into durable plastic products like picnic tables and benches. The company is located in New Jersey and is a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle materials.

Kesslyn Tench, Tri-Valley School’s technology manager and technology teacher, launched this particular recycling, which falls right in line with the school district’s dedication to the boroughwide Zero Landfill Initiative.

Subaru spearheads this initiative, which seeks to divert solid waste from the landfill. Subaru partners with local agencies and Denali National Park to improve recycling options and helps educate consumers and visitors. Local student ambassadors have been promoting the program since it began a few years ago. Visitors to Denali now find recycling bins throughout the park for aluminum, glass and plastic Nos. 1, 2 and 5.

Denali Education Center was recently awarded the Alaska Tourism Industry Association’s Stan Stephen’s Stewardship Award for the key role they play in managing the program.

In past years, candy wrappers and chip bags were never specifically included as acceptable recycling products and Tench always wondered why.

“I saw an article about this in Illinois or one of the Midwest areas, and I was like, ‘Okay, I wonder if we can do that here,’” she said.

She discovered that a bus tour operator in Denali National Park, collects those items from its bus snack boxes. Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture Concession provides a 100% recyclable snack box, thanks to a partnership with TerraCycle, according to Dawn Adams with Denali National Park. In 2019, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture Concession collected and shipped 6,815 pounds of crinkly wrappers from snack boxes, to TerraCycle, according to Adams.

Students from the Denali Borough had the opportunity to visit the TerraCycle facility last year, according to Tench. The group attended the national service learning conference in Philadelphia, toured the Subaru headquarters (because of their Zero Landfill Initiative connection) and then traveled to Trenton, New Jersey, to tour the TerraCycle facility. Later, that same group of students participated in a Skype conversation with officials at TerraCycle.

Collection boxes are available now at Anderson School, Tri-Valley School and Cantwell School. There are also collection boxes at McKinley Community Center and Tri-Valley Community Center.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.