Talkin' Trash: Recycling program can yield big bucks
February 3, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson units can get cash for their trash.
Through an incentive program offered by the installation's Qualified Recycling Program, units can earn funds for being environmentally conscious.
The incentive program is not new; in fact, it has been around for years, but some of its advantages have been forgotten or gone unnoticed, so post leaders want to remind units they can earn green for going green.
"It's a way for (units) to make money without too much effort," said Yvonne McCarty, financial analyst for Fort Jackson's Directorate of Resource Management.
"People just chuck things into the trash can and when the trash is picked up every week, it's gone," McCarty said. "But if they put those things in recycle bins, it's picked up and delivered to the post recycling center where they can sell it and make money. That money comes back to the installation and units can (earn) money (toward) their unit funds."
To earn money, units can recycle cardboard; white and color paper; newspapers and magazines; steel and aluminum cans; plastics No. 1 through 7; green, white and brown glass; and standard wooden pallets. The recycling center does not currently accept electronics.
When units collect items such as office paper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans and take them to the recycling center, those articles are weighed, sorted and compacted before being sold to vendors in the scrap recycling industries.
During fiscal year 2010, Fort Jackson's recycling center generated more than $136,000 from selling recyclable products.
"That's $136,000 just from stuff people often walk by and ignore or throw in the dumpster," McCarty said.
The profits from those sales not only cover the QRP's operations costs, but they also pay for various equipment and projects that promote energy conservation or improve upon environmental, health and safety standards at Fort Jackson.
For example, the QRP recently purchased a new baler to compress cardboard, plastic and tin, and a wood mulcher was purchased to provide mulch in the housing areas and around post.
But what many Soldiers don't realize is that individual units are rewarded for recycling, said Ernest Dicks, business manager for QRP.
Each time a unit brings recyclable goods to the center, the unit is awarded points based on the weight of the goods - one point per pound, at roughly a penny per point.
Every quarter the QRP tallies the total points and provides that information to Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, which awards a total of $5,000 each quarter among all units that participate in the incentive program.
The $5,000 is divided according to three categories: $1,750 in two big-unit categories and $1,500 in one small-unit category. Units that umbrella smaller units, such as the Soldier Support Institute, which includes the 369th Adjutant General Battalion and the Recruiting and Retention School, are awarded in the big-unit category and divide the $1,750 award according to the percentage of points each of its smaller units earns. Smaller units, such as the 157th Infantry Brigade, compete against other small units on post for their share of the $1,500 in the small-unit category.
The money is deposited into each unit's unit funds to be used primarily for recreational activities.
Currently, 38 organizations participate in the incentive award program, which accounts for 80 percent of the organizations at Fort Jackson eligible to participate. Dicks said he would like to see that number jump to100 percent.
"The more things we can recover and recycle from Fort Jackson, the less waste we have to pay (someone) to haul off the installation and that's going into the landfill," Dicks said.
Units that would like to get started and need some direction on how and what to recycle, can call the Qualified Recycling Program at 751-4208. The center, which is located at 5671 Lee Road, is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays.