Reuse center saves thousands of Army dollars
June 6, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - A small logistics agency offers the Army community a huge service and has saved about $300,000 in operational costs by employing an age-old practice.
The 405th Army Field Support Brigade, Directorate of Logistics, Hazardous Material Reuse Center maintains a list of hazardous and nonhazardous materiel items and recycles them for free to units participating in the Hazardous Materials Management Program.
"The HMRC is available to reduce the hazardous materials inventory, environmental and health threats, and it's a good way to save money," said Marcus Strohn, HMRC manager, who said the center receives unused products and supplies from and redistributes them to tactical and non-tactical organizations throughout the community.
The HMRC has on hand goods such as printer toner cartridges, petroleum, oils and lubricant products, cleaning supplies, paint, signage, and other general office supplies that it has collected from eligible participants in Wiesbaden and other Army garrisons in Germany.
"Before purchasing or disposing of some of those normal supplies like you would before, check out what's in stock here … or call the HMRC for an assessment," said Strohn.
Because the center maintains strict review and control of the hazardous materials on stock, savings can also be made by extending the shelf life of items that are still usable in stock at the HMRC or on an organization's own shelves.
Strohn said that in April the recycling service posted cost avoidance for the Wiesbaden community of about $17,200. "The facility ensures the tracking of all hazardous materials in the garrison footprint, generating a win-win situation for all stakeholders -- the local community, the Army and the environment as a whole," he said.
Units can participate as donors and recipients in the program, but a few rules must be followed. The center can only receive unopened products.
"If the lid has been opened one time, I can't guarantee what was inside," said Strohn, who added that household cleaners for reuse can be taken to the self-help store in Hainerberg Housing; but contact the facility to be sure. Also, beneficiaries must be of a certain funding source to take from the facility.
Strohn said all tactical units can take and give and most tenants units where the funding is Army paid. If in doubt, one can contact the HMRC for clarification.
The center's role is not just taker and giver; its personnel can also act as go-betweens. In cases where one unit has something another needs, Strohn said "We can act as a coordinator once we're informed that the stuff is available" to help complete the exchange.
"Sometimes it's merely a lack of communication between units," he added, explaining that sometimes the units involved in the exchange are in the same location.
And while the facility has been in operation for nearly three years, logisticians are actively spreading the word to boost the community's participation in the program in hopes of impacting the Army's bottom line.
"We are trying to make sure units know the service is here, because bad practices end up costing the Army three times as much," said Strohn. For example a unit might buy an item classified as hazardous material, then not use it before its shelf life expires. Then it has to pay disposal costs and repurchase the item again. "Because of the tight budget, people are trying to find alternate supply sources for their business needs."
Before pulling out that government purchase card to procure supplies the old way, contact the HMRC to see what is in stock. Go to www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/directorates/WiesbadedDOLInternet/Index.htm to see a list of the facilities current inventory. The facility is located at Mainz-Kastel Storage Station Building 4025; open Tuesday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call mil 334-2629.