Recycling: Key to not throwing money away
January 12, 2009
ANSBACH, Germany - Some people are throwing U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach money away, significantly impacting installation programs and improvements that could be made with those dollars.
The garrison spent more than $2.1 million in waste disposal for fiscal year 2008, according to Jutta Seefried, separate or recycle trash coordinator for the USAG Ansbach Environmental Management Division.
The garrison generated more than 5,000 tons of solid waste from all areas - family housing, administrative buildings as well as community facilities - and spent this cost on disposal alone.
"While the total waste amount varies with the number of residents at a time, the numbers still show a low recycling rate at the garrison," Seefried said.
A typical German household recycles about 75 percent of its generated waste - plastic, metal, glass and paper - that by law must be separated from household trash. In contrast, a typical American household here only recycles about 46 percent, not exactly in line with the rules here, said Seefried.
"Everybody has to follow the German waste law, including Americans on and off post," she said. "Some people even bring their trash on post, which is prohibited and which adds to the garrison's costs for waste disposal."
And too many recyclables end up in the residual waste instead of being disposed in the correct containers.
That increased trash traffic, revealed during a recent survey, is a concern. It shows "almost every second customer at the recycling centers comes from off post to dispose of trash on post," said Seefried. "The cost for solid waste is included in off-post housing. So if residents bring their waste on post, the garrison pays twice."
Although Seefried expects an increase in generated recyclables this year because of more Soldiers being home, she would like to see it kept to a minimum, as "every newcomer receives a SORT package from the housing division that explains how to dispose of waste for off-post and on-post residents properly."
And the solution is not that hard, said Christian Loos, core compliance manager for the garrison.
"Pre-sorting at home is the key," said Loos. "If residents set up small recycling bins in their kitchens to help separate recyclables, this would simplify the process. And if everyone put recyclables in the correct containers, it would save the garrison a significant amount of dollars each year."