380th Air Expeditionary Wing   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Feature - Deployed service members reduce waste, generate MWR funds
Deployed service members reduce waste, generate MWR funds
An Airman tosses a bottle into one of the many recycling bins located around the base. The 380th Air Expeditionary Wing's recycling program recycles plastic bottles, aluminum cans, shredded white paper, and flattened cardboard boxes, in addition to many other items. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. April Lapetoda/Released)
Download HiRes
Deployed service members reduce waste, generate MWR funds

Posted 12/17/2013   Updated 12/17/2013 Email story   Print story


by MSgt April Lapetoda
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

12/17/2013 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- On average, a deployed person will go through nearly 1,500 plastic water bottles during a deployment.

Multiply that number by all the people assigned to a base during a year and you have millions of water bottles filling landfills and creating waste.

To help reduce waste and be good stewards of the environment, while also bringing back some funds to the base, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing entered into a comprehensive contract for the recycling program three years ago, said Curt Williams, the environmental program manager for the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. This recycling program is one of only two in the area of responsibility.

"The primary purpose of having a comprehensive recycling program is to redirect items that have value within the current solid waste stream from entering the host nation's landfills," he said. "These items are placed into the marketable recycling stream for re-use."

In addition to plastic water bottles, the base also recycles common recyclable items such as aluminum cans, shredded white paper and flattened cardboard boxes.

The wing also recycles items that many people don't realize can be recycled.

"We recycle used oil and fuel," said Williams. "All used fuel from the vehicles, equipment, aircraft and even generators here is collected and recycled."

Scrap metal and broken items such as air-conditioning units and televisions are recycled as well, he added. Tires are put into a scrapyard, though there is no monetary return on them yet. Used cooking oil is taken to the vendor and recycled into a biofuel, that when additives are added, makes biodiesel.

"Nothing is turned away from the recycling program here," said Williams. "We can't afford to turn anything away."

Recycling not only allows Airmen here to help the environment, it helps contribute funds to morale welfare and recreation (MWR) programs here.

"There is a 60 percent return of all revenues back to the base to the MWR non-appropriated fund account," said Williams.

In fiscal year 2012, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing made approximately $35,000 from the recycling program, he said. In fiscal year 2013, that number more than doubled - climbing to nearly $78,000.

"Push the money aside, and the biggest benefit of the recycling program is that the items are able to go into different waste streams so the products can be made into new products," said Williams. "Sometimes recycling isn't always about the monetary return, but rather saving an item from becoming a waste."

To make recycling easier for people who are deployed here, collection bins are located near all dormitories, offices, common use areas and maintenance areas. However, improvements in the program can still be made.

"The biggest improvement that can be made to the program is to increase the participation of the people deployed here," said Tech. Sgt. Justin DeGarmo, 380 ECES service contract noncommissioned officer in charge. "Sometimes you see a recycle bin right beside a dumpster and people still don't recycle."

Williams echoed similar feelings and added that including foreign debris to recycled water bottles, such as gum or cigarette butts, is a problem as the recycle vendor will not accept these items.

Both DeGarmo and Williams would like to see more people here participate in the recycling program in the future.

To help make that happen, they are willing to work with the recycle vendor to add more recycling bins where needed so that it is seen as convenient, said Williams.

No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside 380th AEW

ima cornerSearch

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act