By Mrs Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)September 29, 2011
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Earlier this year, Anniston Army Depot implemented a new procedure for handling solid waste, byproducts of its industrial and administrative processes, on the installation.
Most large, roll-off bins used for waste throughout the Nichols Industrial Complex have been replaced with recycling roll-offs. When filled with waste products, the roll-offs are taken to the wood yard where they are emptied and sorted by the depot's Green Team.
"By sorting through the solid waste, the depot has saved about $125,000 to date," said LaNoah Ealy, chief business manager for the depot's recycling program.
Most of the savings is attributed to a reduction of transportation costs, specifically the cost for removing waste from the installation, and landfill expenses.
Using this new procedure, the depot recycled 85 percent of its solid waste in July, including a large amount of crushed concrete.
According to Robert Jones, an environmental engineer for the depot's Directorate of Risk Management, sorting through the refuse produced on depot keeps the installation well above the Department of Defense requirements.
The DoD goal for recycling of both demolition debris and non-hazardous solid waste is 50 percent by 2015.
"We're already well past that," said Jones, adding the depot's average solid waste diversion rate for fiscal year 2010 is 64 percent.
Jones said under ideal conditions he would like to have a separate bin for each type of waste stream, however, the limited space in the industrial area prevents that from occurring.
He said DRK and Recycling are always looking for new ways to reuse waste. Some of the more recent projects are asphalt and scrap tire recycling.
Jones said the depot landfilled an average of 150 tons of scrap tires in the last three years.
"Realistically, we're never going to recycle everything, but what we are doing is ambitious enough to exceed DoD requirements," said Jones.
The installation sells wood chips to a boiler plant for fuel and recently began chipping Styrofoam and plastic into the wood chips to increase the British thermal unit, or BTU, output of the material.
The Green Team sorts through about 11 to 12 roll-offs each week, separating wood, paper, cardboard, plastic and other items, including metal, from the nonrecyclable waste.
"By far, the bread and butter of our recycling program is steel," said Jones. "We recycle about 1 million pounds of steel each month."
The recycling program is constantly watching for different metal products to recycle, including 55-gallon drums.
"The drums were going out of here as hazardous waste at 85¢ per pound," said Richard Brimer, recycling business manager. "They really weren't hazardous waste and now they make money for us."
Brimer said the depot is also recycling used oil -- about 36,000 gallons of it each month. The oil is often used as heating oil or sold to a boiler plant.
"Everything we do right now is helping the recycling program, the depot and the environment," said Earl Montgomery, recycling support specialist.
No matter where the depot's waste products go, Brimer said the installation is sure they are being used in an environmental friendly way.
He said each company receiving recyclables from ANAD is investigated to ensure they will recycle the material and all have been approved by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.