Recycling preserves environment, improves quality of life on installation
A contractor bales cardboard at the Fort Leonard Wood Recycling Center Friday. Recycling not only preserves the environment, but on Fort Leonard Wood, it helps pay for recreation through Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Do you enjoy using the movie theater, watching the fireworks on July 4 and playing mini golf on post? Then, the next time you consider tossing a recyclable item in the trash, think again.

Recycling not only preserves the environment, but on Fort Leonard Wood, it helps pay for recreation like this, said Craig French, solid waste and recycling program manager for Fort Leonard Wood.

"Unlike a lot of programs … recycling dollars generated at Fort Leonard Wood come back to Fort Leonard Wood to be used at Fort Leonard Wood," he said -- the vast majority of which are used by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

In 2012 alone, FMWR will use recycling money to pay for fireworks, the Soldier Show, the Rec Plex playground, an addition to Dougherty Bowling Center, no-cost movies, slides for both swimming pools on post, fitness trail updates, furniture for the Pershing Community Center and a sound system for the Rec Plex.

Col. Charles Williams, garrison commander, is especially passionate about Fort Leonard Wood's Qualified Recycling Program.

"We had been recycling when I arrived (here), and generally averaged over $1 million in recycle profits annually, all of which is reinvested in the Fort Leonard Wood community," he said. "What we tried to do was step up awareness for recycling in our work places, simply because it is the right thing to do, and believing that if we lead by example in this effort, we may lead change in the region, where recycling is the standard and not the exception."

In 2011, Fort Leonard Wood's Qualified Recycling Program generated $1.2 million in revenue and saved an additional $1.6 million in "cost avoidance" -- money that would have gone to pay for a landfill, if items had not been recycled or reused, French said.

These figures include recycled brass residue from ranges, military tires, acid batteries, used motor oil, cooking grease from dining facilities and items from the Recycling Center.

"Every little piece helps," French said. However, "if people as individuals don't take the extra step or the effort to recycle themselves, I can't magically make the bottles get in these containers. I count on them entirely to make this happen."

To recycle, community members can use either the recycling bins located throughout the installation, or the Recycling Center, located in Building 2549 on Ordnance Drive (off of First Street), which has a drop-off area open 24 hours a day.

Recyclable items include clear, green and brown glass; aluminum cans and containers; steel or tin cans and containers; cardboard; junk mail; magazines; white paper; phone books; newspapers and Type 1 and 2 plastics.

To find out what type a plastic container is, look for the recycling symbol on the bottom inside.

"Number 1 plastics are typically drink bottles. Number 2 plastics are going to be milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles -- the denser, heavier plastics," French said.

Pallets and used motor oil from homeowners are also accepted, but must be dropped off with the help of an attendant during business hours only: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Before recycling, community members are asked remove all lids and rinse containers.
Most importantly, they should separate their items -- otherwise, whole batches of recyclable items could be ruined.

"In the recycling process, number 1 and number 2 plastics are chemically different -- they are not compatible -- so when they recycle them, they will not bond. If we don't get things properly separated … it winds up going in the trash," French said.

Worse than this, when people throw trash into a recycling bin, "the recycling is ruined, plus we have to pay for landfill disposal, so it's a double negative," French said. The Recycling Center is not a transfer station, so trash is not separated out.

Separating materials and taking items to a recycling bin may seem like a hassle for some, but French said the end result is definitely worth it.

"Every ton we recycle is a ton that does not go into the landfill, into the ground somewhere, to sit for a thousand years. It's good environmental stewardship, it brings money back to the post -- it's the right thing to do," he said.

For more information, call the Recycling Center at 596.2895, or visit the Recycling Center webpage at www.wood.army.mil/DPWENV. The webpage contains the Fort Leonard Wood command policy and standard operating procedure for
recycling.

Page last updated Wed June 13th, 2012 at 00:00