Installation aims to meet Army recycling goals
January 17, 2007
By Rob Schuette
Fort McCoy is looking at ways to increase and intensify its recycling efforts so the installation can strive to meet the Department of the Army goal of recycling 40 percent of its solid waste stream.
Al Balliett, chief of the installation's Plans Division, Environmental Branch for the Directorate of Support Services (DSS), said the installation currently is recycling about 33.5 percent of its waste stream.
"Right now, we are doing most of the easy items to recycle," Balliett said. "The installation still has several opportunities open that can be used to help it approach the 40 percent recycling mark."
The most current target items to recycle are building demolition material and used compact discs, he said. Building demolition materials that can be recycled include many items, such as concrete, clean wood, etc.
"There's a lot of waste in the debris," Balliett said. "We have a contract in place where we can crush concrete and reuse it. Clean wood can be recycled. These projects can generate a lot of cardboard byproducts, which can be recycled."
Tim Gelhaus, the Environmental Management manager for VT Griffin, the contractor for the DSS, said the performance by Olympic Builders of Holmen, Wis., which built the Post Exchange Mini Mall, set the standard for recycling of new construction waste materials at Fort McCoy.
"It's something we can look at to get the language into contracts so inspectors are aware of it, and they look at the whole process," Gelhaus said.
Michael Miller, a DSS Environmental Protection specialist, said the other major new recycling avenue available at Fort McCoy is to recycle used compact discs. These discs, which include DVDs, can't contain any classified material and must be rendered inoperable by being scratched with a sharp object on both sides. The discs are then placed near the toner cartridges for recycling purposes, he said.
Terry Jeffrey of the Directorate of Information Management noted these items must be considered unclassified. If the items are considered classified, personnel who want to dispose of them must call (608) 388-2823 or 388-3139 to coordinate with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
Miller said members of the installation's work force can help the installation reach its recycling goal by educating themselves about what can be recycled at Fort McCoy.
"There's still a lot of people who don't know what to recycle, and we need to target them," Miller said. "If I walked through installation buildings, I'm sure I could find things like paper, plastic, aluminum cans and cardboard in the solid waste that is being thrown out."
Mandy Radloff, an Environmental Protection specialist for VT Griffin who oversees the hazardous waste/materials program, said recycling helps the installation control solid waste disposal costs because the installation does not have active landfills and has to contract for the transportation and disposal of refuse.
Members of the installation work force, personnel who live at Fort McCoy and any visitors need to know what is recyclable and what isn't if Fort McCoy is to approach the 40 percent goal, Miller said.
The major items that members of the work force can recycle are computer paper and other paper products, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and printer ink jet cartridges, Miller said.
Other entities, such as maintenance facilities or training units, can recycle things like scrap steel, steel and bimetal cans, empty aerosol cans, metal lids, No. 10 cans and coffee cans, as can individuals who have any of this material.
People also shouldn't bring refuse from off post to get rid of on post, Miller said.
"In some of the dumpsters I've seen, the amount of trash from off post is 30 or 40 percent," he said. An observational study in early 2006 indicated the overall amount of off post garbage in installation dumpsters was as much as 20 percent. This costs the installation money to dispose of. The installation is working on stricter measures to manage this problem. Violators will be held responsible and dealt with accordingly.
Balliett said the funds generated from the recyclable materials are used to support the recycling or reuse of items that do not make money for the program. Balliett said these items include fluorescent lights, antifreeze, used motor oil, used oil filters, glass, plastic and others.
Recycling these items saves the cost of disposing them in a landfill. Since the items have a potential impact to the environment, it saves the additional costs of disposing items deemed hazardous waste. Some of the items, such as antifreeze and used motor oil, can be recycled and used again in installation vehicles or equipment, he said.
"We conserve resources by recycling," Balliett said. "We're not cutting down more trees to make paper and cardboard. We're not mining more minerals out of the ground. We're using what's available to us."
David Schafer, an Environmental technician for VT Griffin, said personnel looking for a small amount of an item to use also are encouraged to visit the Re-Use-It Store in building 2958. The facility is open from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The facility features materials, such as paints, lubricants, etc., that have been open or used, but still can be used for other projects by organizations/individuals on post. A listing of materials is available at the Fort McCoy Corporate Network, in the Weekly Bulletin, or by calling (608) 388-5915. Military and civilian members of the Fort McCoy work force and military personnel or trainees can use the facility products.