It took about a month to demolish the old one, disassemble it, cut it from the building and set it on rollers to push it out of the building and then lift it on to trucks for removal.

But all that work was worth the effort because now the recycle center has a new, efficient, American-made baler that has 20 years of electronic upgrades, processes three times more product a day and, best of all ... it works.

According to Chris Smith, Recycle Center manager, the old baler, which was a Swedish, metric Presona baler manufactured in 1991, has been out of service for nearly two years and the process to replace it has taken a year.

"During this time, recycle staff were forced to improvise and bale by hand, using three common 'down stroke' balers, like you might find in retail stores or grocery stores," said Smith. "The program and the staff has suffered over this past year. The new fully automated baler will be much more efficient, processing three times more product each day and taking less of a physical toll on the staff."

Smith said the new baler was purchased with Qualified Recycling Program money, generated by the Fort Sill Recycle Program.

"It can bale cardboard, newspaper, shredded paper, plastics. tin cans and aluminum cans," she said. "But we will be using it strictly for cardboard and loose papers, such as newspapers and office waste."

The staff has trained for a solid week to be ready for operations. They have been supplied with manuals and support staff phone numbers.

The entire construction project took about 30 days, said Smith.

"Phase I was the demolition of the old electrical baler and the conveyor system. The baler, weighing 25 tons, was disassembled, cut from the building, lifted up and set on rollers, then pushed out of the building. A massive crane was brought in to lift it onto trucks for removal from the site," she said.

Phase II was the new electrical building changes, renovation and construction. Phase III brought in the new baler and constructed the new conveyor system.

"Phase IV was bringing the new system on line and training the staff in the use of the baler," said Smith.

Recycle programs
"Cash-for-Trash" is an incentive-based program designed to encourage recycling."'Cash-for-Trash" is a program supplements the unit funds with monetary credit awarded for recyclables turned in to the Recycle Center. The expanded program encourages directorates, non-permanent party active duty, separate units, tenant organizations, contractors who maintain an office on Fort Sill, FRG's and others to receive their monetary credit in the form of Morale, Welfare and Recreation dollars generated through the recreation programs," said Smith.

These credits can only be used in the MWR Category C facilities, such as bowling, golf, the Impact Zone, the Patriot Club, LETRA and the Outdoor Adventure Center.

Unit bulk shredding
Unit bulk shredding is done on Wednesdays, by appointment. Call 442-5712 or 585-7865 to make an appointment. A unit representative should plan on remaining with the recycle center staff until the shredding is complete.

"After the first open shredding for personal documents on the National Identity Protection Day, March 7, the Recycle Center recognized a need to provide the same service for individuals to shred their personal documents," said Smith. "Because most people don't have much more than a shoe box of personal information to shred, we take them on a walk-in basis. If anyone has a lot of shredding to be do, they should make an appointment also. This will ensure that they can get their shredding done in a timely manner."