By Paula NardellaNovember 21, 2008
Fort Riley, Kan. - Look at the tag of a shirt. If it says post consumer materials on the tag, that shirt may once have been about five plastic two-liter bottles.
Recycling may have come a long way since its conception, but a few parts of the process have remained the same.
Materials must still be collected and taken to a recycling center, where they await trucks to take them to another plant to be made into another useful item.
The collection process starts when residents and workers put their recyclables into bins or carts. In the case of residential areas on post, individuals can put all their recyclables, such as plastic and paper, into the same receptacle and simply roll it to the curb.
In offices, bins are put out, and paper must be kept separate from things like beverage containers to keep the paper dry.
Once collected, the materials are taken to Fort Riley's Material Recovery Facility, located at Camp Funston, where they are separated by hand.
After the sorting process, the products are baled and placed in storage until the facility has a full truckload of material for the buyers to pick up. Funds from the sale of Fort Riley's recyclables are used to keep the program operating.
Materials recycled on post include No. 1 plastics, which are transparent plastics, No. 2 plastics, which are opaque plastics such as laundry detergent bottles, corrugated cardboard, aluminum cans and brass shell casings.
Jill Dalton, recycling and solid waste program coordinator, said out of all the people on post who recycle, it's the residents who have the most impact on the success of the program.
"Recycling saves a tremendous amount of energy and natural resources because the item you're recycling is used as a raw material instead of manufacturers having to mine for materials."
Dalton said one of the benefits of Fort Riley's recycling program is the public service announcements put out by the state of Kansas. She has also noticed many of the Soldiers and Families who move to Fort Riley have already been recycling at their previous post or in their home state. This makes it natural for these individuals to recycle once they move here.
America Recycles Day is Nov. 15, and Dalton said this is a great time for people in both residential and administrative units to renew their commitment to recycling.