ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Our Qualified Recycling Program is just one of the ways Anniston Army Depot helps maintain a healthy environment, and not just for Earth Day, which is coming up later this month.

Department of Defense policy includes maximizing the recovery and recycling of useful materials and reducing the generation of solid waste and its disposal.

Recycling keeps valuable materials out of the landfill and back into the economy.

This practice isn't just environmentally sound, it also ensures the availability of materials needed to meet the mission.

You've probably seen our QRP team around, busy picking up roll-offs full of metal and pallets.

Busy is good; it means people are pitching in and doing their best to recycle.

Sometimes, especially with a unique place like ANAD, the basic understanding of how to recycle needs a little more instruction.

Here are some tips to help our QRP Team get the most out of your recycling efforts:

1. Recyclable material must be free of contaminants. In recycling, contamination can mean the material is too dirty with food or other residues to recycle, like greasy pizza boxes. Greasy cardboards and papers should be thrown into the solid waste bins. Plastic bottles with chewing spit, for example, can never be recycled.

2. Recyclables should not be mixed together. Contamination can also mean the materials are too mixed to give to recycling centers. For example, when cans and bottles are all mixed together in the same bag, that bag ends up at the landfill as solid waste. Our QRP Team is hardworking and dedicated, but they don't have enough people to sort everything by hand. Always pay attention to the markings on the recycling containers and place items in the correct containers.

3. Paper is worth more when properly sorted. Did you know QRP runs on the profits from recyclable sales? The money from the sale of paper, for example, goes right back to QRP to pay for salaries and equipment. Paper is worth more when it is segregated into two categories: white paper and everything else. Please maintain separate bins for white office paper and other materials such as magazines, colored paper, tab cards and newspapers. This will help QRP keep the light on in the future.

4. Large shredded paper can be baled for recycling, but pulverized can't. If your shredder makes wide strips, please bag the shreds for QRP pickup. If it is pulverized into fine pieces, please place in the solid waste bins or call me, the solid waste manager, at Ext. 6544 to see if the material can be composted. If it can, I will help you arrange for pick up.

5. Break down your boxes. Help our QRP team maximize their efforts by making sure recycling roll-offs are loaded with boxes that have been completely flattened. You get more boxes in a container this way and you avoid accidentally throwing out a valuable part or material that may have been left behind in the boxes.

6. Do not mix solid waste (garbage) in with the recycling. Again, contaminated recycling does not get recycled. The blue roll-offs are for recyclable materials only, never garbage.

7. Police your scrap wood. Old pallets, crates, etc. should be checked for parts, trash and other packing materials before they go in the bin. Try to stack the materials efficiently. If it isn't too broken, there is a good chance QRP can find a buyer; so please stack with care.

So, what is recyclable? Here's a handy list:
• Paper
• Metals
• Plastics marked with the recycling triangle and the numbers 1 or 2
• Scrap Wood
• Aluminum Cans
• Office furnishings, ink cartridges, fuses, etc.
Call QRP at Ext. 6838 for more info.

What don't we recycle?
• Styrofoam
• Greasy paper and cardboard
• Plastics with numbers other than 1 and 2
• Glass