Recycling center saves money, helps environment
May 31, 2012
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (May 31) -- The Fort Belvoir Recycling center is making many changes to reduce the posts carbon footprint, save money and pay for its own operations within the next two years, according to recycling center officials.
The center makes about $15,000 a month selling items such as aluminum cans and white paper and wants to increase that amount, said Fred David, DPW solid waste and qualified recycling program manager.
The center recently began composting wood chips, leaves and tree branches around post, said David. The center has collected an average of 58.92 tons from October 2011 to March 2012, saving Belvoir $2,073.92 per month in disposal costs when the installation sent the materials to landfills.
Within the next six months, David said the center will began working with organizations such as Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and the Officers' Club to set up organic waste bins dedicated to collecting food waste for additional composting.
Composting material into mulch allows Belvoir to use its own natural resources instead of purchasing mulch from an outside vendor.
"We're going to process everything that can be reused," said Tracy Ashton, DPW Recycling Center manager. "The goal is to save money and reduce our carbon footprint."
David estimates the Officer's Club could divert 130 tons from the landfill, as an organic or food waste composting, which he estimated will save about $5, 280 month.
The changes bring David closer to his goal of having the center pay for its own operations within the next two years.
Composting food and tree materials would save Belvoir money and reduce the amount of vehicle trips to landfills, which helps the environment by reducing vehicle emissions.
"The Recycling Center's ultimate goal is to have zero waste." David said.
President Barack Obama's executive order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, requires federal agencies to divert at least 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste, excluding construction and demolition debris, by the end of fiscal year 2015.
Belvoir is on pace to divert 48 percent of its solid waste by the end of the year according to David.
The center allows servicemembers, their Families, retirees, government and contracted civilians to slice paper using the shredder at the recycling center, which is at 6010 Pohick Road (Bldg 1089). Individuals can shred documents free of cost and a center employee will demonstrate proper shredding to novices. The center will recycle the shredded paper.
"It's a win-win for us, the residents and tenants on post," David said.
David said the people must bring their documents to the shredder. Employees will not collect and shred paper upon request.
The service is available during normal business hours, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additionally, the center hosts a 24-hour drop off in front of the building.
People can drop off materials such as cardboard, scrap metal, aluminum, steel, glass, plastics and paper, the same items accepted during normal business hours.
The facility also collects car batteries, printer cartridges and there is a used motor oil container where people can drop off or pick up used oil.
The center has ceased collecting hazardous household goods such as paint and spray cans. David said the items were costing the center too much money to dispose of.
Residents on post can dispose of their hazardous household goods by contacting Clark-Pinnacle. David said people living off post can contact their local county government for disposing assistance.