Fort Rucker helps make recycling easy, accessible
Jason Dykes, URS contractor, Kent Tate, URS contractor, and Melissa Lowlavar, environmental branch chief, begin to unload a truck filled with cardboard and pack it into a baler Jan. 14 at the Fort Rucker Environmental Center.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 17, 2013) -- With the arrival of the new year, some people think about making new, healthy habits, and Fort Rucker is helping people make one good change by continuing to make on-post recycling accessible and easy.

Fort Rucker offers many ways to recycle, including the Picerne Military Housing program, the environmental center and the hazardous waste center, and according to Colleen Quinlan, Fort Rucker Environmental Office hazardous waste manager, waste in landfills is a growing epidemic that the post is helping to diminish.

"It is super easy to drop things off at our centers. No hassle, no paperwork and no fees. We couldn't make it any easier. You can live off post, you can bring your neighbors' stuff, you can be a civilian, you can work on post -- it doesn't matter," she said.

The recycling center collects what is considered typical, recyclable material year round.

"We take cardboard, aluminum cans, paper, mixed plastics, old toner cartridges and even used oil. We also take metals, like brass, and we even accept compact discs now," Quinlan said.

The fact that anyone can use the hazardous waste and environmental centers, with their accessible locations, and the fact that they collect materials at office buildings make them a good choice when it comes to local recycling, according to Melissa Lowlavar, environmental branch chief.

"We have paper and cardboard recycling bins set up around the installation. They are set out at a variety of locations all over post. We have several in Bldg. 5700 alone. They are at almost every office building-- we have over 100 set out," she said.

The centers also collect electronic waste, such as compact discs and monitors, as well as wood pallets.

"We are trying to be a good steward and help the community recycle to help the environment. We need to save the resources that we have and reuse what can be reused," said Lowlavar. "Sooner or later there isn't going to be any more land to make landfills out of. We want to sustain what we have for future generations."

The centers have a few rules, though, when it comes to dropping things off to be recycled.

"People have to separate what they bring in and food residue cannot be in any of the containers," said Lowlavar. Officials also request that pizza boxes not be brought in, and that bottles and cans that used to contain liquids be washed out.

The trouble-free way of recycling, according to hazardous waste officials, is just one more reason to use the facilities.

"It's just as easy as taking something to the dump as it is to bring it to us. It can even be more efficient than to leave it sitting around the house. Children can even do it. It's too easy," said Kevin Bryan, Fort Rucker assistant air manager.

The military community is no stranger to recycling, but the hazardous waste manager said smaller communities do not have as many opportunities to recycle, and that is why the Fort Rucker opportunities should be taken advantage of.

Locals, like Sabrina Vail, agree.

"I am from Washington state, so I am used to recycling everything. It was odd to come to a place where recycling is not a major concern. It was really nice to see [the post] offering a place so I can safely get rid of products that I don't use anymore," she said.

Picerne has a separate recycling program that Soldiers and Families that live on post can utilize that has just as many opportunities to recycle with just as much ease.

"Each home comes with a 35-gallon rolling-recycling container that is picked up every Monday, and the program is free to use and you don't have to sign up for it," said Michael Gregory, director of capital improvements, maintenance and purchasing Picerne Military Housing.

The materials that are allowed in each container are: aluminum, steel and tin cans; cardboard; paper bags; books; No. 1 and 2 plastic bottles; any type of paper; and pizza boxes.

Things that cannot go in the container are plastic bags, Styrofoam, yard waste, wax cartons and glass.

Picerne began its recycling mission 2006 and, according to Gregory, has seen growth each year.

"This year it looks to be about 220 tons of material that we have recycled and about 1,200 tons has been collected since 2006," he said.

Picerne also helps recycle when it demolishes houses, furbishes homes and constructs new homes.

"One thing we do is cut old duplex homes in two and take some of the cement and recycle it. We are always looking for new ways to be more Earth friendly and being more sustainable," said Brandon Masters, Picerne Military Housing communications manager.

For anyone wanting to recycle materials, the recycling center at Bldg. 9322 and hazardous waste center at Bldg. 1315 are open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Page last updated Thu January 17th, 2013 at 00:00