Recycling program turns trash into dollars for Belvoir programs, facilities

By Margaret Steele, Belvoir EagleFebruary 14, 2020

Recycling Center
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

In a time when local counties are ending curbside glass pickup in favor of regional collection centers, money from glass and other recycling on Belvoir still benefits the local, military community, financially.

Vijay Ivatury, Belvoir's Solid Waste and Recycling Program manager for Public Works' Environmental Division, said selling the post's recyclables has earned the installation more than $2 million over the last 10 years. Recyclables are collected from residents, facilities and agencies on post and average $10,000-$15,000 in refunds each month to Belvoir, its programs and facilities.

Belvoir recycles cardboard; mixed and white paper; aluminum and steel; glass; plastics; car batteries and printer cartridges. Cardboard, by far, is the material that's most recycled at Belvoir.

"We won't turn recyclables down, even if we have an abundance," Ivatury said.

In accordance with DoD policy and Army regulations, participation in the installation's Qualified Recycling Program is mandatory for all installation activities, including mission partners and contractors.

To recycle as much as possible, Ivatury suggests residents and agencies rinse cans, jars and bottles before recycling.

"In addition to the local MWR getting a percentage of those proceeds, the recycling program benefits the community by removing recyclables from the landfills and reducing an overall carbon footprint," he said, adding Belvoir ships its recyclables to a Maryland processor, twice a month.

Funds from recycling also go toward recycling-equipment maintenance and renovations at the recycling center, including new office space and windows and a renovated bathroom for the building, built in 1932.

The Recycling Center also has a place to drop off yard waste which, in turn, creates garden mulch and compost is available to anyone.

Maybe a lesser-known service the Recycling Center offers is a free vehicle weigh station for personally owned vehicles for people in a permanent change of station move.

"We weigh about 15-20 vehicles a day, more in the summer," said John Linan, the Installation Solid Waste and Recycling Contractor to Public Works. "We have the only state-certified weigh station in the area that's free. It's a true benefit to our military community and civilians who PCS for the government."