WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 13, 2007) - Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Rucker, Ala.; and Department of the Army were awarded for contributions to the environment at yesterday's 2007 White House Closing the Circle Awards ceremony.

"Acceptance of these prestigious awards confirms that Army sustainability is on the move and gaining momentum. We're building green, buying green and going green," said Tad Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health. "I'm confident this recognition will spark others to action."

Department of the Army received the "Sowing the Seeds" award for its leadership in setting a future vision with the Army's "Strategy for the Environment." The strategy outlines the Army's vision for the next 20 years and how its goals will impact the Army's mission, the environment and local communities. It transitions the Army's compliance-based environmental program to a mission-oriented approach based on the principles of sustainability.

Fort Hood's Solid Waste and Recycle Team received a pollution-prevention award for its "Every Waste a Reuse Opportunity" program. Environmental experts there trained more than 11,000 community members on recycling and environmental awareness. Fort Hood also developed partnerships with local, state, federal and private organizations to aide their environmental mission.

The post saved more than $2.5 million in 2006 through its Qualified Recycling Program, compost recycle program, inert material management, deconstruction management, special waste management and the electronics waste recycling program.

"This award represents the hard work and dedication by Fort Hood's environmental team to supporting the mission, serving the Soldier and protecting the environment," said Col. Tori Bruzese, Fort Hood garrison commander. "This installation award reflects the passion that Ford Hood employees have in keeping Fort Hood 'The Great Place.'"

Fort Rucker's Aviation Center Logistics Command received an honorable mention for recycling. The command created a pilot program with local industrial laundry to recycle absorbents used to wipe aircraft engines. The absorbents were previously discarded as hazardous waste after one use due to the presence of a toxic medal called cadmium.

The program successfully eliminated hazardous waste while also reducing aircraft cleaning costs. The absorbent material can now be reused as many as ten times before being discarded, creating an estimated cost savings of about $500,000 a year.

"This new process truly allowed greening of the current government practices through waste prevention," said Robert Hill, deputy commander, Aviation and Missile Command, ACLC.

The White House Closing the Circle Award program is an annual award program sponsored by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive. In its 13th year, the program focuses on the practices of sustainable building, waste prevention and recycling, green purchasing and electronics stewardship.

(Kristin Miller writes for the U.S. Army Environmental Command.)