Net Zero Waste workgroups hold kick-off focus session
December 19, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas (Dec. 19, 2011) -- Work continues to move forward on the Net Zero Waste program at Fort Hood. The most recent event to take place was the kick-off Net Zero Waste, or NZW, workgroup session Dec. 8, at Club Hood.
Four workgroups, consisting of Soldiers, contractors and civilians from across the installation, have been formed to identify and troubleshoot problems and get the ball rolling on a variety of programs as Fort Hood moves toward producing zero waste by 2020.
To help that process along, workgroups dedicated to the major tenets of NZW were formed.
"We've developed four workgroups -- reduce, re-use, recycle and marketing and outreach," said Jennifer Rawlings, the Fort Hood sustainability coordinator and NZW project officer.
"Today was designed to get the goal leaders with all their team members to start brainstorming ideas on how to reach Net Zero Waste by 2020," she added.
The groups included Soldiers and civilians of all grades and ranks, from units and organizations across Fort Hood. Col. Mark Freitag, Fort Hood Garrison commander, said the diverse groups are necessary to take a well-rounded look at the task of achieving zero waste.
"We want to get the entire installation involved so that we get an installation perspective," Freitag said during the opening remarks. "It can't just be a DPW (Directorate of Public Works) effort. It can't just be a garrison effort. It's got to be something where everyone has buy-in, so that's why you're all here."
He encouraged the groups to work together, ask tough questions and think of innovative approaches to reducing, re-using and recycling.
"We've got lots of work to do, but there is a value of what can come back into the community," he added.
Brian Dosa, the director of DPW, also added his encouragement before the workgroup sessions started.
"Net Zero Waste, we think, is very achievable," he said. "As we move toward that goal this is something that is across the board, across the whole post."
By the end of the day, the four workgroups had responded in force, briefing Freitag on dozens of ideas they identified to help the NZW program move forward.
Jim Bondi, the re-use workgroup goal leader and director of the installation's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, said his group identified several processes and programs that could be updated or streamlined to better facilitate re-using property. He said the group was interested in exploring electronics buy-back programs for outdated electronics or setting up an online marketplace similar to Craigslist, where Soldiers leaving Fort Hood could list personal property for sale or trade instead of simply throwing it in the dumpster.
Mike Engen, the reduce workgroup goal leader and Education Services officer, briefed several options his workgroup identified, ranging from making two-sided copying jobs the default, to installing automatic motion sensors to control the lights in offices and common areas, and hand-drying machines in bathrooms to cut down on paper towel usage.
Rawlings said she was excited about many of the ideas presented by the groups.
"It's a good start," she said. "We feel like we're going to get some momentum from here on out. Hopefully, we'll be able to start working on how to make all these project ideas come to fruition."
Work will continue to move ahead on the NZW program. Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr. will be briefed by the goal leaders Jan. 19 at the Environmental Quality Control Committee meeting, and the workgroups will continue to meet monthly to discuss ideas, problems and options.
Freitag added his thanks to all the participants for their hard work, which will form the basis for years of improvements at the Great Place.
"You ask yourself why we're doing it," he said, "because it's the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for America, and it's the right thing to do for our future generations."