By Anne JohnsonNovember 8, 2007
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 8, 2007) - On Nov. 15, the Army will join with the rest of the country to observe and celebrate America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products.
Celebrating its 10th year, America Recycles Day promotes the social, economic and environmental benefits of recycling and encourages more people to join the movement toward a better natural environment.
Soldiers, Families and Civilians and the installations they call home have been a part of America Recycles Day from the beginning, though Army recycling efforts aren't limited to this single day.
"As our Army transforms to a more agile, responsive and mobile force, reducing impact and dependence on environmental resources is an important mission multiplier," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "Simply complying with environmental regulations will not ensure that we will be able to sustain our mission.
"Soldiers, Families and Civilians must think and act in a sustainable way in order to ensure the Army is able to meet its present and future mission needs in a global security environment of decreasing natural resources and increasing demand," the secretary added.
This year, the Army's recycling efforts were recognized by the White House with a 2007 Closing the Circle Award presented to the Solid Waste and Recycle Team at Fort Hood, Texas, for its "Every Waste a Reuse Opportunity" program. Environmental experts there trained more than 11,000 community members on recycling and environmental awareness.
Other recycling successes include:
Aca,!Ac Fort Hood also developed partnerships with local, state, federal and private
organizations to aid their environmental mission. The post avoided costs of more than $2.5 million in 2006 through its Qualified Recycling Program, compost recycle program, invert material management, deconstruction management, special waste management and the electronics waste recycling program.
Aca,!Ac Fort Lewis, Wash., diverted more than 725 tons of organic material and some
1,400 tons of waste wood from its solid waste stream and avoided $174,000 in disposal costs by reusing lumber and other resources from building deconstruction.
Aca,!Ac Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa., reported a 58 percent solid
waste diversion rate of 4,756 tons in 2006.
Aca,!Ac Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia eliminated the environmental toxin
"red water" and its estimated $1 million annual disposal bill from the production of TNT. New by-products can be recycled as useful material in other industries and can also be sold to generate income.
Recycling reduces waste, creates new markets for products made from recycled materials and conserves natural resources, all keys to the Army's key vision of sustainability.
"Join me in celebrating the 2007 America Recycles Day and working to promote recycling," said Secretary Geren. "Army Green is Army Strong."
(Anne Johnson serves in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.)