BAGHDAD - This is a small percentage of the plastic bottles consumed by residents of Victory Base Complex. A recycling initiative is a key part of a responsible drawdown.

BAGHDAD -- The Army teaches Soldiers to leave a place better than they found it. One Soldier has applied this adage to the Multi-National Division - Baghdad area of operations by thinking green.

Sgt. Tanisha Manning, from New York, assigned to Company B, Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, has applied a recycling initiative to Iraq.

"It's about saving money, helping the environment and it's part of a responsible drawdown because we want to leave this place better than we found it," she said. "I started this about two months ago and it's just now getting off the ground and totally on the move."

Manning explained that there was a recycling program in place before, but it wasn't getting much attention.

"I thought to myself, 'We drink so much water, we use so much water and we throw away so many plastic bottles - what are we doing''" she said.

Instead of letting the thought lie, Manning decided to do something about it. She formulated a plan of action, made contacts, and helped publish a fragmentary order on the subject.

"When I found Sergeant Manning in [Division supply], she inspired me to do something about the recycling situation here on Liberty," said Maj. Mindy Kimball, from Vacaville, Calif., assigned to Co. A, DSTB, 1st Cav. Div. "The bottom line is that the landfill on VBC is near capacity and can't possibly last through 2011 with the current rate of solid waste disposal."

With the assistance of a contracting organization in Iraq and Kuwait, her plan started to come to fruition. A partnership formed, allowing for the company to come in and take away materials for recycling.

"The contractors...are the first company in Kuwait and Iraq to implement recycling, ever," said Manning.

Now there are blue recycling bins all over Victory Base Complex and throughout MND-B.

"It's important that we use these recycling bins - it's too easy," explained Manning. "Everybody on VBC, at least, has a point of contact for recycling."

Manning explained that the bins are vital to helping the recycling program along.

"When I went out to the recycling facility, they were picking through the garbage, looking for recyclables," she said. "So it's important for us to separate the recyclables out beforehand to make it easier on them."

"The Army's policy is very clear - it doesn't say 'try' or 'should' [recycle], it says 'will,'" said Kimball. "But unless every Soldier and leader enforces it, then nothing will get done and nobody can enforce policies they don't know about."

Thanks to the efforts of Manning and others, Soldiers serving in the MND-B area now have the capability of recycling plastic bottles, aluminum cans, printer cartridges and cardboard. It is one more step to reducing the footprint of Coalition forces in Iraq.

Every little bit helps.

Page last updated Tue August 4th, 2009 at 10:50