By Sarah Schmidt, U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen Public AffairsMarch 18, 2008
SCHINNEN, the Netherlands - It's Saturday morning and Alfredo Dorio is busy directing traffic at U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen's Recycling Sort Center.
"It's our busiest day," Dorio said. "That's when Americans from all around the tri-border region drop off their recyclables at the Sort Center."
Recycling is part of USAG Schinnen's commitment to helping protect the environment. And it's working: last year, Schinnen's Sort Center handled more than 840 tons of refuse and waste products. Of that amount, 704 tons were recycled.
"That's an 84 percent recycle rate," said Roger Lahaije, Schinnen's environmental specialist, "(which is) pretty good for an installation the size of Schinnen."
So good, in fact, it puts Schinnen in the top three for all of all Installation Management Command-Europe installations.
Schinnen ranked among the top three for the last several years and is on track for a successful fiscal year 2008, said Lahaije.
"Our numbers are very constant," he said, due in part to the center's high visibility location and the ongoing service it provides.
"All our services are now spelled out in a standard operating procedure that is written with the customer in mind," Lahaije explains. "We also get a lot of command support and community attention because we are really here to make recycling easier."
Dorio noted that many community members make weekly shopping trips to Schinnen, and then stop by the Sort Center to turn in cardboard, plastics, aluminum cans and countless other recyclables they've collected at home.
"Most people live in villages that have recycling collection programs in place, but it's more convenient and less costly to drop off their recyclables while they're here," Dorio said.
For those who are moving either in or out of Schinnen, the Sort Center even accepts furniture and other household items that cannot easily be disposed through regular waste collection methods. To take advantage of this service, however, people must obtain a permit from the Schinnen Housing Office, indicating their transit status.
The Sort Center also accepts hazardous products, such as car batteries, paint cans and chemical containers. Dorio points to a special red and blue bin where hazardous products are deposited, adding that he empties the bin daily in accordance with environmental policies to prevent leaks, spills and other contamination.
"This is a very important service," he said, "because many places now charge customers a lot of money to dispose hazardous waste like a car battery, so this free service at Schinnen can save you a lot of time and money."