Recycling Center makes environmental commitment easy for military families
August 28, 2009
- Recycling: another way USAG Schinnen protects the environment
SCHINNEN, The Netherlands (Aug. 28, 2009) -- It's a sunny day in the Tri-Border area, and Alfredo Dorio is busy directing traffic at U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen's Recycling Sort Center. "May through August are our busiest months," Dorio said.
As the sort center Manager, Dorio sees military families from all around the Tri-Border region dropping off recyclables as they PCS or finish summer cleaning projects. "We encourage people to use their local community recycling programs, but when that's not adequate or when they're PCS'ing, then the Schinnen Sort Center is here to help," Dorio said.
Recycling is part of USAG Schinnen's commitment to helping protect the environment. And it's working: last year, Schinnen's Sort Center handled more than 750 tons of refuse and waste products. Of that amount, 555 tons were recycled.
"That's a 74 percent recycle rate," said Hans Verwasch, Schinnen's chief Environmental Division, "which is pretty good for an installation the size of Schinnen." So good, in fact, it puts Schinnen in the top five for all of Installation Management Command-Europe.
But Verwasch would like to see more. "We want to make sure customers know all the items we accept so there's no confusion and also so we can increase our recycling rates, which ultimately benefits everybody," he explained.
The Schinnen Sort Center maintains drop-off bins alongside the curb, which are open 24/7 for cardboard, plastic, metal, clothing and glass products. For hazardous materials like car batteries, paint cans and chemical containers, or larger items such as wood or yard waste, the sort center operates big bins on the hill just above the drop-off site. However, the hours of operation for these bins are limited because environmental laws require that hazardous waste must be regulated. Leaving such waste at the curbside drop-off bins is not permitted.
For personnel who are PCS'ing, the sort center even accepts household items that cannot easily be disposed through regular waste collection methods. To take advantage of this service, personnel must obtain a permit from the Schinnen Housing Office, indicating their transit status. The sort center provides one of the most convenient hazardous waste disposal locations anywhere in the Tri-Border area. Dorio points to a special red and blue bin where hazardous products are deposited, adding that he empties the bin daily in accordance with environmental policies to prevent leaks, spills and other contamination.
Ray Bryant, Schinnen's Hazardous Materials Control Center manager, says the center even accepts old electronics like used computer monitors and TVs. These are considered hazardous because of the metals contained inside their components. "Everybody is going with flat screens now, so we're seeing a lot of bulky old monitors and TVs coming to the Sort Center." Many recycling centers won't accept such items, but Schinnen contracts with a recycling company for their safe disposal.
"The company takes the electronics apart and re-uses any pieces that can be salvaged, or reclaims the silver and other valuable metals, then properly disposes of whatever is left," Bryant explains. "This is not something you want to try at home," he laughs.
Schinnen Recycling Sort Center Hours of Operation:
Mon. Aca,!" Fri., 9 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m.
Sat., 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: behind AAFES Gas Station, next to PXtra