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Schriever doubling its recycling efforts

Posted 10/22/2013   Updated 10/22/2013 Email story   Print story


by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel

10/22/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- In April 2012, Air Force leaders set a goal for each installation to recycle 55 percent of its solid waste. Thanks to an extensive recycling awareness campaign that year, Schriever recycled at a rate of 52 percent.

This year, however, that number has slipped to 37 percent.

In response, the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental office is making a concerted effort to bring that number back up. Doug Chase, 50th Space Wing recycling program manager, and Pamela Rosinski, 50 Civil Engineer Squadron environmental consultant, created a working group to address the issue.

"We've accumulated a lot of ideas from the recycling program working group, which includes representatives from many organizations on base, including the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center," Rosinski said. "Once these ideas are approved by base leadership we'll start implementing many of them."

Until then, Rosinski says people can help the base raise its recycling level through individual awareness.

"When you're done drinking that soda or water, empty any remaining liquid and drop the bottle or can in one of the many recycling containers on base," she said.

Chase conducted an operation earlier this summer where he inspected some of the refuse dumpsters on base and found hundreds of pounds of recyclable materials, ranging from plastics to paper and aluminum.

"The number of aluminum cans astounded me," he said. "There's an easy fix too. People can just as easily find a recycling container on base as they can a trash bin. Keep in mind most items deposited in landfills don't break down, they mummify, so it's important for all of us to try to reduce just throwing plastics and paper away."

Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, conserving natural resources such as timber, water and minerals, and prevents pollution.

Recycling also reduces the need to collect new raw materials. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well as helps sustain the environment for future generations and even creates jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries.

Since 2012, Schriever has operated a "single stream" recycling program managed by 50 CES. This type of program enables the collection of commonly recycled items in a single container. Some of the more common items that can be recycled are newspapers and magazines, cardboard, plastics, aluminum cans, and shredded and mixed paper.
In addition to the common items, SAFB also recycles toner cartridges, electronics and scrap metals.

There are five locations on the base to recycle toner cartridges. People can remove the toner cartridge from all packaging and deposit it into the yellow container. At this time there is only one location to deposit scrap metals and one location to deposit electronics for recycling. Two large roll off containers have been placed across from Building 660 to collect metals and electronics to be recycled.

Types of metals that can be recycled include brass, tin and steel. Some electronic devices are required to be turned in through supply channels to prevent any threat to national security. Team Schriever members are asked to check with their supply manager prior to recycling their electronic devices.

Collection containers in work areas can be emptied into recycling dumpsters located throughout the base. As part of the solid waste services contract, the recyclable commodities, toners, metals and electronics are picked up from the base and taken to local recycling facilities. The proceeds earned from the recycled commodities are then applied to the cost of the solid waste contract, thereby reducing the cost of the service to the base.

Rosinski said the recycling program working group will guide the future of base recycling efforts. Though the group now includes 15 members, any active duty, civilian or contractor who wishes to take part is welcome.

To become a member or gain more information about the program, contact Chase at 567-4242 or Rosinski at 567-3910.

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