New cargo program to carry thousands of pounds of recyclables out of Nome

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This spring Alaska Air Cargo launched a program to carry up to 50,000 pounds of recyclable waste each year out of Nome, Alaska, supporting clean-up efforts in rural communities along the Bering Sea and saving valuable local water resources.
The recyclables — electronic waste items left over from used consumer goods — are collected from 16 communities around the Seward Peninsula Bering Strait region and packed onto pallets by employees of Kawerak, a Native nonprofit corporation in Nome that is partnering with Alaska Air Cargo in the project. Kawerak also supports the region through programs ranging from education to natural resource management to economic development.
The pallets of recyclables will fly from Nome to Anchorage regularly during the spring-fall seasons, replacing pallets of water that have been used as ballast to level out the aircraft. Air cargo services around the world use ballast after their aircraft drop off cargo and fly back empty, and our aircraft carry much more cargo into Nome than they carry out.
“Empty planes fly much better with ballast, but instead of moving water and throwing it away, we’re going to use clean electronic scrap as ballast and really do something good for the community,” said Jeff Olver, Alaska Air Cargo director of cargo operations for Seattle and the state of Alaska.
Because the recyclables will replace water jugs that had been filled in Nome to create the ballast weight, this program will also save more than 6,000 gallons of local water each year — the equivalent of 20 days of water used by an average American family household.

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