By Michele Vowell, Courier assistant editor December 23, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- From Christmas wrapping paper to cereal boxes to water bottles, recycling in Fort Campbell's housing area is as easy as throwing away trash.
Campbell Crossing, Lend Lease's privatized Family on-post housing community, uses a "single stream" system -- meaning residents do not have to sort their recyclables, said Danny Roberts, Campbell Crossing utilities manager. Recyclables accepted are cardboard, paper, aluminum cans and plastics.
"Being single stream, it's not as hard to recycle; you just throw it in," Roberts said. "We tried to make it as convenient as we could."
The recycling effort in on-post housing started a decade ago.
Since December 2003, on-post residents have been able to recycle paper, cardboard and metal cans. In the early years of the recycling program, only 20 percent of the 4,500 homes participated in the effort.
To increase participation and recyclable materials, Campbell Crossing and its recycling partner Waste Management Company replaced 10-gallon recycling containers with blue 60-gallon bins at each home in 2011. In addition to mixed paper, cardboard and metals, Fort Campbell residents now may also recycle plastics #1 and #2 -- used for milk, juice, soap and soft drinks.
The larger blue bins are used exclusively for recyclable items. Residents place their trash and recyclable containers side-by-side at the curb once a week for pickup.
The convenience of having the bins at each home and the additional space of the larger bins have resulted in a 25 percent increase in household participation, said Kathy Jones, Lend Lease sustainability champion. Currently, an estimated 45 percent of on-post homes recycle, she said.
"Since the implementation we have reduced the amount of garbage sent to the landfill from 5,712 tons in 2011 to 2,586 tons in 2013," said Jones. "This is a reduction of 3,126 tons to date. We are pretty proud of those numbers."
In addition to convenience, Roberts said education and awareness of the importance of recycling is key to a successful recycling effort. Campbell Crossing publishes articles in its monthly newsletter, and places recycle bins at each housing event to help plant a seed for recycling in residents' minds.
"We try to get more people involved that way," he said. "Do as we do kind of thing. If you show them that you're doing those things as well -- that Campbell Crossing is [recycling] -- then most people say 'maybe I should be doing it as well.'"
Although some success has been achieved, Campbell Crossing hopes to expand its recyclables to include electronic recyclables, such as televisions, telephones and computers.
Jones and Roberts also hope to tap into the knowledge of residents who have lived in different parts of the country and the globe, where recycling is widespread.
"That's one of the big advantages that we have in housing -- we can pull from our residents that have come from all over the world," Jones said. "Even in Europe, the recycling is so much farther ahead of us. They have so many great ideas."
In the next few years, Roberts wants to see residential recycling double at Fort Campbell.
"Whatever we do now is going to affect later on," he said. "We want to have the impact now."
"It's a big push for us to really increase the amount of recycling in our neighborhoods," Jones added. "I think we have pretty good participation in the housing area, but we want to increase it."
To improve residential recycling efforts, Campbell Crossing plans to launch a new campaign in early 2014.
"One of the goals [next] year is to maybe partner with the installation and the [Fort Campbell] school system," Jones said.
"It's a mindset," Roberts said. "If you start at a young age, you'll just carry on. I think that's where we would like to go with it -- is get everybody started [at the schools]. It helps get the parents involved. The next thing you know the whole Family is [recycling] and it's a win-win."
Details about the new recycling plan are still in the early stages. Jones said they hope to unveil the campaign in early 2014 before Earth Day.
"This [Earth] is all we have, so we want to do what we can so that our grandkids and future generations still have all these wonderful things to experience," she said. "We can have a positive impact."
Editor's note: This is the third article in a series on recycling at Fort Campbell.
• Corrugated cardboard
• Brown packing paper
• Brown grocery bags
• Cereal boxes (liner removed)
• Cracker boxes
• Other chip board boxes
• Freezer boxes
• Pizza boxes (less food residue)
Preparation: Flatten boxes, remove plastic or waxed paper liners and all styrofoam packing material.
• White packing paper
• Telephone books
• Magazines and catalogs
• Junk mail
• Brown fiber paper
Preparation: Put clean, dry paper into the bin.
• Beverage cans
• Foil -- clean only
• Soup and vegetable cans
Preparation: Empty and rinse cans to remove all food residue.
#1 and #2 plastic bottles used for milk, juice, soap and soft drinks.
Preparation: Rinse containers to remove residue. Discard caps.
For more information about Campbell Crossing recycling, call (931) 431-2764 or visit www.campbellcrossingllc.com/Sustainability/default.aspx.
Other recyclables may be taken to the Convenience Center at 6802 Airborne St. and A Shau Valley Road. Call (270) 798-5695 for details.