FORT KNOX, Ky. — Fort Knox leaders have noticed the amount of trash that gets left behind when some Soldiers and civilian employees arrive or move away.
As a result, they are urging those who arrive or leave post to take the time to properly dispose of or recycle unwanted items.
“People are putting things by the dumpsters, like at the [Exchange], or somewhere away from where they live,” said Brian Faber, Hazardous/Solid Waste Program manager, Fort Knox Directorate of Public Works. “On numerous occasions there’s been paint, car batteries or tires just left beside dumpsters.
“We’re trying to alleviate that and give them a way to properly dispose of their unneeded or unwanted items.”
Faber said one way to dispose of items is to visit the Fort Knox Construction Demolition Debris (CDD) Landfill at 9374 Baker Rd. The landfill itself has a specific mission that doesn’t involve individual disposal of certain items. However, a transfer station there is available for those who are moving.
Faber is asking those who plan to use the service to provide a copy of their orders.
“The orders are for those who have PCSed in, or they’re PCSing or ETSing out,” said Faber. “This is to show they’re not just cleaning out their garage and getting rid of stuff.”
The transfer station can take large bulky items, such as chairs and couches. Electronics are a different issue.
“With those items, they need to check in with somebody at the scale house, who will direct them up to the transfer station,” said Faber. “We would rather that they do that than to leave it by the curbside or throw it in one of the brown dumpsters; that’s a hazard.”
Any expired hazardous chemicals can be taken to Building 2954, where officials can help dispose of them properly.
Faber said officials have two ways to dispose of the expired chemicals: either by placing them in a reuse conex, or shipping the items out as a waste. These include paint, aerosols and lawn chemicals.
Another way to get rid of items is to haul them to one of four recycling points located around post, to include the Qualified Recycle Program located at 309 Frazier Road.
Dan Sundeen, director of the QRP, said the other three locations are the Van Voorhis Shoppette; near the Starbucks on Wilson Road; and the parking lot between the Exchange and Commissary.
Scrap metals and items made of at least 75% metal are big profit items that can be recycled. They include chain link fencing, sheds, appliances and lawn equipment. Sundeen said he has been reaching out to housing officials to get the word out about the installation’s recycling capabilities.
“We’re not making a serious amount of money off of this, but we’re helping out the people living in the housing areas,” said Sundeen. “That’s part of my target — to provide as much support as we can to people living on Fort Knox.”
Besides metals, the QRP accepts toner and inkjet cartridges, used motor oil and cooking oil, aluminum and tin cans, empty 55-gallon drums, wooden and plastic pallets, cardboard and packing paper, junk mail, magazines and catalogues, newspapers, office paper and most lead acid batteries.
The QRP does not currently take plastics or spent ammunition.
Even with the reduced items offered for recycling, Sundeen said drop-off points are still getting utilized.
“We are dumping them anywhere between one to two times a week,” said Sundeen. “That’s pretty good. We’re probably pulling anywhere between 15 to 20% of the occupancy actually using the recycle points.”
A common issue with recycling is people not understanding how to properly recycle, said Sundeen. He has received calls saying a bin is already full only to discover a few large cardboard boxes not broken down, taking up space inside of it. That is cost-prohibitive.
“It’s not their fault, they just don’t know the proper way to recycle,” said Sundeen. “We need to get that information out to them better.”
A common and concerning issue with dumping involves hazardous liquids. Faber and Sundeen both agree placing liquids inside of dumpsters is a very bad idea.
“When they throw hazardous liquids in the trash, it contaminates all the contents,” said Faber.
Faber said he and others understand the stress of moving. It’s because of their understanding that they are offering the landfill service to those on post who are moving away or have just arrived.
“This is not the norm,” said Faber. “But in order to help the environment and properly dispose of articles, this is what we’re doing for them.”
Editor’s Note: Fort Knox tenants who need to drop items off at the installation landfill prior to leaving can call 502-624-3692 for more information. To get more information about dropping recyclable items off at the QRP, call 502-624-5026/5673.