Fort Hood takes part in recycling forum
November 10, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas - Members of Fort Hood gathered with local city managers and interested citizens Nov. 3 at the Harker Heights Activities Center to hear feedback and questions about a proposed regional recycling program.
The evening event, which was hosted by the Centex Sustainable Communities Partnership, included a presentation about different recycling options and allowed citizens from Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Gatesville and Fort Hood to ask questions, voice their support or suggest changes.
The partnership has been active for a few years, but Fort Hood Garrison Commander Col. Mark Freitag said the emphasis on a regional recycling program is a newer idea.
"It wasn't until last January that we really got together, the five cities, and said 'what do we want to do as our first project?'" he said before the presentation started. Freitag added that the community representatives were all on board for a regional recycling program, but wanted to gauge community interest.
Approximately 100 community members and city representatives attended the event, nearly filling the room to capacity. A poll at the end of the evening indicated overwhelming support for a regional recycling program.
Freitag said he was pleased with the meeting turnout.
"That shows that there's certainly community interest. It's exciting to see that there's a grassroots level of interest here," he said at the meeting's conclusion.
He also praised the collective approach from the local communities.
"As with so many things at Fort Hood, it's all about partnerships and relationships, and anywhere that Fort Hood can interact with the local community, in this case in a regional recycling program, that's good for Fort Hood."
That sentiment was echoed by Harker Heights' City Manager Steve Carpenter.
"Anytime you cooperate, it's going to be good," he said. "This is all part of the bigger picture, so we're excited."
At the event, the audience heard from Bob Gedert, the director of the Austin Resource Recovery Department. He spoke about the recycling program in Austin and the future goals for that program's expansion. He also explained several common recycling practices, such as "Pay-as-you-throw" programs where resident's incur less trash fees the more they recycle, and recycle rewards programs.
He also praised the Fort Hood Net Zero Waste initiative, and noted that Austin also hopes to one day be Net Zero with the city's waste. He even offered a friendly challenge to Freitag, to see if Austin could beat Fort Hood in the race for zero waste.
Brian Dosa, director of the Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works, said the real-life example of the Austin recycling program was interesting and proved just how realistic wide-spread recycling can be.
"It works, it saves money," he said. "Austin's making it work. This is something we can do."
Dosa added that he looks forward to additional dialogue with Fort Hood's neighbors and community residents.
"I think this was very successful, a huge first step for the communities."