By Sgt. 1st Class Mark BellNovember 1, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - The task of ensuring the command's garbage dumpsters are clear of recyclable materials is charged to a select few individuals who volunteered to help the 81st Regional Support Command Wildcats stay green.
Supporting more than 42,000 Soldiers in nine southeastern states and Puerto Rico, the 81st RSC processes hundreds of promotion and medical boards, oversees all Reserve facilities, manages millions of dollars in contracts, utility bills and handles Soldiers' orders for schools, deployments and mobilizations.
Several non-commissioned officers spend several hours each week collecting discarded cardboard boxes, hundreds of pounds of shredded paper and large bags of plastic bottles and aluminum cans - all to help reduce the waste at the local area landfills.
With dozens of industrial shredders occupying hidden corners throughout the command headquarters here, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Glasco, the recycling NCO, walks around the large building ensuring each machine is working and Soldiers and civilians are following the commanding general's recycling program.
"Simply, it's the right thing to do," said Glasco, a command chaplain NCO, as he helped a civilian employee carry large 20-pound bags of shredded paper to the centralized collection point. "If I am able to take one pound of recycled material out of the landfill, I have made a difference."
That difference goes beyond the landfill as each pound of recycled product helps fund the command's morale welfare, and recreation activities throughout the year.
Units that deliver recyclable materials to the post recycling center compete for monetary incentives. Funds are divided in the amount determined by the recycling board and will be credited quarterly to each participating unit.
Glasco said the funds are used to pay expenditures during emergencies, moratoriums, and unexpected financial shortfalls, but also fund unit's activities.
"I can quietly pat myself on the back when I know I that am helping to pay for unit activities throughout the year," he said. "Our waste is also our gain."
He said the command, led by Maj. Gen. Bill Gerety, must set the example for others to follow.
"We must lead by example," he said. "By participating in the recycling program, it will effectively reduce the 81st RSC's environmental footprint."
Glasco said it only takes a few hours out of his week to save decades of landfill waste, and taking his "work" home is something that comes close to heart when it comes to recycling.
The Glasco family recycles everything from glass, plastics, Styrofoam, metals, magazines and newspapers into their three recycling bins at home.
"If my wife or I miss something our 13-year-old daughter will usually catch it and let us know," he said laughing about his own home-brewed "recycling NCO."
Another Soldier who helps Glasco with hundreds of pounds of material is Sgt. 1st Class Osvaldo Santiago, a father of three children who also teaches the importance of recycling at home.
During the week, Osvaldo, an engineer NCO, and his wife work with their children to help them separate garbage and recyclable materials.
"The kids know that the regular garbage pickup is on Mondays and the blue recycling container is on Wednesdays," he said. "It's a daily duty for our family. It's important that we, as a family, help make our community and environment better for my children and their children."
Recycling has come a long way over the decades from the days of collecting can tops according to Master Sgt. Maria Colon, a human resource specialist.
"Recycling back in the days was burning things in the backyard," she said. "Today, the recycling system is getting better. The landfills are receiving less material that can be put back into our community. Our children will have a better place to live if we all recycle more."
Virtually unnoticed by the civilians and Soldiers at the headquarters building, both Glasco and Santiago work each week ensuring the Wildcats stay green for both the environment and the workplace.
"I want my family to have a safe, clean environment in which to work, play and grow," said Glasco. "Our grandchildren will have children who will know the importance of recycling and how our actions affect the environment."
Whether they are dropping aluminum cans in blue containers at the local ballgame or shredding old utility bills, Wildcat NCOs are working for a greener environment.