Awareness, action needed to increase recycling
July 11, 2011
BAMBERG, Germany -- Organizations on Warner Barracks are on a mission. The mission involves planning, coordination, logistics, communications and action. There are many obstacles and challenges on the path to mission success. The tactics for the mission are constantly evolving because the undertaking is no easy task.
How can organizations here change human behavior and convince populace to recycle?
That’s a question Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Caraballo, Directorate of Public Works housing zone coordinator, Isabelle Fahimi, an environmental specialist with DPW’s Environmental Management Division, and Helmut Weis, also with the environmental division, fight with regularly.
Last year, Warner Barracks spent more than , 244,125 on 2,325 tons of waste, which equals , 105 per ton, Weis said. Less than $.5 million is spent annually on waste.
Caraballo and Fahimi have placed recycling posters that describe what items can be recycled at each stairwell housing location with the hope that people will recycle more and help lower the costs associated with Warner Barracks’ waste costs.
“The whole intent is to bring awareness about the recycling points that we have throughout housing,” Caraballo said of the reasons for posting the information on the stairwell bulletin boards. “Not only do we have the greatest recycling center in all of Europe, we have all these recycling points. You don’t always need to go to the recycling center when you have these nearby recycling points.”
The recycling points are convenient for tenants, Fahimi said. No recycling point is more than 200 meters from a house.
“I hope it motivates people to take their recyclables to the nearest recycling island,” Fahimi said.
Caraballo said he will inform building coordinators to pay attention to their bulletin boards and to inform tenants about the need to recycle.
When people on Warner Barracks recycle, the Army pays fewer costs to dispose of waste, Weis said. Glass, plastic, paper, metal and e-waste items are all cost avoidance items that are not charged as waste when placed in corresponding containers; unless someone contaminates the container and mixes dissimilar items.
“One person’s carelessness could cause the efforts of many to be ruined.” Fahimi said.
It is important that people put the right thing in the right receptacle because if they don’t the whole container will be contaminated, thrown away and charged as waste, Fahimi said.
The reasons for why people on Warner Barracks need to recycle are not just limited to cost reductions.
Executive Order 13514 requires government organizations to meet a recycling target of 50 percent by 2015.
While the city of Bamberg exceeds U.S. agencies’ national goal with a recycling rate of around 70 percent, according to the city’s website www.stadt.bamberg.de, Warner Barracks’ rate is nearly half the rate of its surrounding city. At a 40 percent recycling rate, Warner Barracks rates as one of the best installations in Europe for recycling, Weis said.
Fahimi said the posters will serve as a constant reminder staring the tenants in the face every day reminding them to recycle. It helps us with our recycling rate, which is also helps meet the goal of increasing the recycling rate,” Fahimi said.