FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Do you have a collection of paper, plastic bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard in your office waste bin'

Those materials are not trash - they are cash, especially for the Sports and Fitness Branch of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Under the leadership of sports director Karen White, employees and patrons have actively participated in the Bragg about Recycling incentives program to translate their seemingly worthless refuse into valuable FMWR riches.

The Recycling Incentives Program was launched in March of 2008 as a way for military units and agencies across the installation to reduce waste and recycle post commodities. Participants in the program collect and donate cardboard, office paper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles to the Fort Bragg Recycling Center where the materials are weighed and recorded. The recorded weights are then transferred into a value and the amount is issued to the donating unit or organization as a voucher that may be applied at any FMWR resource including, but not limited to, equipment rental offices, bowling centers, clubs and lodging facilities. There are currently 180 units and organizations enrolled in the incentives program.

White is an advocate of sustainability, and when opportunities to apply sustainable practices in her career developed, she proposed participation in the recycling incentives initiative to her employees, who were eager to be a part of the program. According to White, the sheer scope of her program was also conducive to participation in the recycling incentives program.

"Once I found out that we had a recycling program as well as a means to collect and donate recyclables on the installation, I knew we would be players in the program," White said. "We have 13 fitness centers on the installation. Thousands of patrons enter our facilities daily. The incentives program is a great program for the betterment of the installation, and our staff and patrons realize that," she explained.

In 2010, employees and patrons of the Sports and Fitness Branch collected 1, 252 pounds of plastic bottles, 104 pounds of aluminum cans, 980 pounds of cardboard and 2, 336 pounds of paper. The branch has received seven FMWR vouchers worth $742.25, and they have applied those vouchers to host two social gatherings at FMWR facilities, most recently at Dragon Lanes where 35 employees enjoyed free bowling and refreshments - all as a result of their efforts to recycle.

Recreation assistant Kevin Jordan, who attended the Dragon Lanes event, expressed his enthusiasm for recycling. "I participate so much in the recycling program at work, I am now recycling at home," he said.

According to recreation assistant Randall Johnson, the recycling incentives program provides a means for the Sports and Recreation Branch to build camaraderie. "The incentives program is a fabulous program because it brings everybody together on all levels," he said.

In addition, the recycling incentives program supports the military's Triple Bottom Line of mission, community and environment. "Recycling is the first step in changing the culture of an environment toward environmentally preferable practices," said Tim Nance, Fort Bragg's Qualified Recycling Program manager.

"The incentives initiative allows the recycling program and the installation to support several lines of effort as outlined in the Installation Management Campaign Plan. We increase recycling while improving Soldier, Family and civilian well-being."

The recycling incentives program is currently accepting enrollees. To register, or to learn more about the program, call Jeff Sloop at 432-6412.