Yongsan goes green for a better environment
April 19, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Do we recycle on Army posts here in Korea? With a lack of recycling bins and recycling staging areas, it may seem as though recycling isn't conducted here on U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan. According to William Rogers, environmental division chief for USAG Yongsan's Directorate of Public Works, however, this is not the case.
"Recycling is occurring on post, it's just that recycling practices can vary in different countries," Rogers said.
For the community to help in the effort to save money and energy then there would first need to be a proper understanding of the recycling procedures on USAG Yongsan.
Rogers said that on Yongsan, solid wastes are collected in the post solid waste containers, and taken off site to be segregated into recyclable and non-recyclable materials. But why not have separate recycling containers?
According to Rogers, while this may seem like a viable option, the contractor for recycling had explained that this meant higher costs and that he preferred segregating the materials off site.
Instead of having separate recycling containers then, a good way to help out the recycling efforts on Garrison was by separating recyclables into separate plastic bags before placing them into the post solid waste containers.
"For example, the Environmental Division office has separate trash containers for aluminum cans, paper, cardboard, etc. when full just bag them up and place them in the post solid waste that serves your building," Rogers explained.
As an exception, however, Rogers said that household batteries, toner cartridges, laptop computer batteries, cell phone batteries and fluorescent light bulbs were collected at specific locations on post to be recycled.
"Members of our community can visit our website and find out where these locations are located," Rogers said.
Doing so would help save money and energy, allowing the costs to be redirected to more productive means.
When asked whether there were other ways of saving money and energy, Rogers mentioned two additional methods that were practical and easy yet effective.
The first method was replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Although this may seem like a small change, the impact of such a change is astounding.
"A compact fluorescent light bulb saves 75 percent of the energy that it takes to light up an incandescent light bulb," said Lowell Travis, USAG Yongsan energy program manager. "Not only that, it is brighter and lasts much longer."
Travis said that after installing 20,000 incandescent bulbs since 2011, the Garrison's electric bill had dropped dramatically. In the fiscal year 2011, Travis said that the Garrison had saved approximately $600,000, which he attributed in part to replacing incandescent light bulbs.
As the second method, Rogers suggested that Community members simply remember to turn off lights and electronics. While making a change such as switching from incandescent to fluorescent does have a big impact, Rogers reminded that remembering to turn off the light when leaving a room had an even greater impact.
Rogers explained that while the Garrison was constantly making efforts to save money and energy via various means such as providing fluorescent light bulbs and implementing new strategies, the best method was for Community members to become partners in the stewarding of energy.
"A fluorescent light bulb may save 75 percent, but we have to remember that turning off the light or electronic device means we are saving 100 percent," Rogers said.
Information regarding recycling can be found at http://yongsan.korea.army.mil/environmental under the download tab.