Soldiers, civilians help save money, resources by recycling
Directorate of Public Works employees sort out items to be recycled at the Recycling Center on Wiesbaden Army Airfield.

WIESBADEN, Germany - Despite massive construction efforts and a fluctuating population as the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden continues transforming, Directorate of Public Works officials report a savings of about $100,000 a year thanks to recycling efforts by service members, civilians and families.

"Our waste disposal costs dropped from $1.9 million in fiscal year 2007 to $1.6 million in fiscal year 2011," said Peter Zeisberger, USAG Wiesbaden's solid waste manager with DPW's Operations and Maintenance Division.

With the Installation Management Command goal of having at least 40 percent of all refuse recycled, Zeisberger said USAG Wiesbaden has managed to exceed that amount on an annual basis -- averaging between 43 and 45 percent a year. "In fiscal year 2009 we were about 45.5 percent and now we're at about 44 percent. Our future goal is getting to 50 percent."

Community members play a vital role in the effort to save money for the Army and valuable resources by separating their trash, he said, adding that future plans call for a better manageable waste disposal system in Hainerberg and Aukamm housing areas. "The current ones are not sufficient. Each house will also get its own trash area that will be fenced and work with a key system."

As the German recycling system continues to evolve, that will impact the way the garrison manages its refuse recycling programs, Zeisberger said. "By 2015 every community will have to provide the possibility for customers to separate and recycle 'bio' waste which would include food leftovers and gardening items."

Experts predict that residents should be able to separate 30 percent of their refuse into the new bio containers, he said.

Germany will also change its packaging system by 2015 to make the recycling process simpler, Zeisberger added.

"With fewer and fewer natural resources available, it's necessary to be careful and reuse materials. The second reason to recycle is because it's always about money and protecting the environment," Zeisberger said.

Increased use of the Recycling Center on Wiesbaden Army Airfield has grown and added to the overall increase in recycling by the garrison.

"Soldiers are using it, which is really good to see," he said, explaining that the center, currently located by Building 1035, accepts wood, metal, electronic waste, bulk items, cardboard and packaging.

Soldiers and civilians on the airfield can also bring their packaging -- "yellow bag" refuse -- to the center to be recycled. "Because we do not offer the containers around the airfield, people can bring their yellow sacks to the Recycling Center. Yellow bags are available at the Home Improvement Store in Hainerberg Housing and at the Recycling Center.

"Household hazardous waste and batteries can also be brought to the center for recycling," he said.

Zeisberger reminded housing residents that bulk trash (large items such as couches, chairs, mattresses, tables, appliances, lumber, carpets) is currently picked up every Monday at recycling points in the housing areas. Residents should put out their bulk trash on Sunday evening or before 6 a.m. on Monday morning for pickup.

The Recycling Center on Wiesbaden Army Airfield is open Monday through Friday from 1-3:30 p.m. As construction advances on the new Ring Road on the installation, the Recycling Center will relocate to the other side of the airfield by Building 1212 before being established in a new permanent location as part of a new Recycling and Re-use Center for Wiesbaden Army Airfield South Housing and the rest of the installation.

For more information on the 2012 trash pick-up schedules and recycling in Germany visit the garrison's home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil and click on the Recycling Guide button on the bottom right side of the page.

Page last updated Tue February 14th, 2012 at 00:00