WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- The Directorate of Public Works, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, aims to reduce solid waste by 50 percent by 2015 -- with an ultimate goal of zero solid waste, or net zero.

"When people think of recycling, they automatically think of cans and bottles," said Tamicha Williams, recycling program manager, DPW. "But, it's so much more than that. The federal government as a whole is pushing for sustainability, or supporting long-term ecological balance."

Whitney Brunson, recycling program support specialist, DPW, believes that increased participation from everyone in the military community will make the dream of net zero a reality. Williams explained that recycling on an island is very important because resources are more limited than on the mainland.

"Our landfill space on Oahu is reaching its capacity," Williams said. "We are making more trash than we have room for. We have to become creative and find ways to divert it."

Williams, who is new to the recycling manager position, is excited to bring new ideas to the program to evolve and improve it. She encourages residents and the workforce to get more creative about the things they and the garrison can begin to recycle, and to help develop ways to gather those materials efficiently and cost-effectively.

Suggestions can be made through the Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, program at ice.disa.mil.

"If Soldiers and families want to become more involved in the program, education about what can be recycled is key," she said.

One resource that Soldiers and families have right in their own backyard is USAG-HI's Army Recycling Center, here. Currently, it is undergoing renovation to improve the site.

"When product and materials get wet, they are considered damaged and no longer recyclable, so a new roof is being built," said Robert Hema, manager, Army Recycling Center. "Also, a bailer with a conveyer belt is being installed to help us package all the cardboard together."

The site, although functioning while under renovation, has limited space and only accepts certain items. Williams wants Soldiers, families, units and civilians to keep an open mind about recycling.

Soldiers and families living in on-post housing can address their recycling questions and concerns at their community centers, first.

"If the recycling center does not accept certain items, the community has various options available, as well," Williams added. "We do partner with it as much as possible, so those items can get captured."

Brunson agrees and said recycling should not be thought of as work.

"People need to integrate the idea of recycling into their lifestyle," Brunson said. "It needs to be second nature to throw the can into the recycling bin and not the trash bin."

Recycling hours
• 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Call 655-0011 for bulk pickup.

America Recycles Day
The garrison's recycling event will take place on Weyand Field, Schofield Barracks, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Nov. 19. For more information about USAG-HI's Recycling Program, visit www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil and click on "Sustainability and Environmental Management."

Acceptable materials
Glossy paper, newspaper, magazines, phone books, corrugated cardboard, white office paper, toner cartridges, aluminum/tin cans, scrap metal glass bottles or containers, wood waste and pellets (limited quantity only), and green waste.

Unacceptable materials
Trash or refuse, wet cardboard, appliances, batteries, oil, florescent bulbs, tires, painted or treated wood, fire extinguishers, compressed gas cylinders or confetti-cut shredded paper.

Page last updated Wed November 9th, 2011 at 00:00