The alternatives to landfills are waste reduction and recycling methods.

FORT STEWART, Ga. - Do you know where your housing waste goes' Do you know what happens to the trash in the brown dumpsters'

If you don't know the answers to these two questions, then you probably don't know that Fort Stewart has two municipal solid waste landfills, and that by using these two landfills, we pay less money for solid waste disposal.

There is the sanitary landfill, which takes the garbage from all brown dumpsters on post as well as the garbage from the housing area.

Then there is the non-putrescible landfill, which only takes those wastes that will not become putrid, or rotten. The non-putrescible landfill is used for wood, concertina wire and other items normally deemed to be construction and demolition debris.

Hazardous waste, liquid wastes, lead acid batteries and radioactive wastes are prohibited from both landfills. Likewise, salvageable, recyclable materials such as serviceable pallets, scrap metals, white goods, or other excess property book items should be processed through the Installation Recycling Center or the Defense Logistics Agency - Disposition Services, formerly Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office.

Fort Stewart's landfills will not last forever and at some point, they will be filled to capacity and closed for use. Each year, the remaining capacity (in cubic yards) and life expectancy of the landfills is calculated using the amount of waste deposited over the last 12 months.

Due to the installation's robust recycling program, the amount of waste going into both landfills has decreased and the life expectancy has increased by four years to 2038 for the sanitary landfill and by five years to 2054 for the non-putrescible landfill.

The recycling program is committed to reducing solid waste generated on the installation and the total amount taken to the landfill. There are blue recycling dumpsters and containers conveniently placed next to brown trash cans.

Recyclers do not have to take any extra steps in order to recycle. All they have to do is place their bag of recyclables in the blue container.

Community participation has been outstanding over the past five years. The amount of material diverted (removed) from trash has increased from approximately 13 percent in 2005, to a little over 40 percent for the last two years. This surge in material being reused or recycled is the result of everyone believing in the recycling message and doing their part to make it happen.

This energy and involvement must be sustained in order to reach the mandated 50 percent diversion goal by 2015. The primary mission of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield is to adequately train Soldiers to fight and win on the battlefields around the world. To ensure the resources are available for Soldier training, the recycling program will continue to train and educate the community on waste reduction procedures which is directly related to extending the life of the landfill.

Here's why this is important: When these two very important resources have reached capacity, the installation will have to increase funding to have its wastes shipped off site to private landfills in neighboring communities.

In 2009, the average tipping fees (charge for unloading and dumping at a landfill) in Georgia ranged from $27 to $52 per ton, with the higher costs noted in Georgia's Coastal Region. To put that in perspective, for calendar year 2009, a total of 10,382 tons was deposited in just one of our landfills. The total costs to Fort Stewart for depositing this waste in its own landfill was $0 while it would have cost between $280K to $539K to deposit this waste in an off-post landfill.

We thank you for your efforts in providing a record year in reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill. Please continue the good work and encourage everyone to keep recyclables and prohibited waste out of the landfill.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16