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Recycling abounds on installation

Published: April 24, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 24, 2014) -- Fort Rucker celebrated Earth Day April 22 with an expo that showcased more than 20 Earth-friendly exhibitors, but representatives from the environmental branch on the installation want people to be conscious of their habits and the repercussions on the environment all year long.

Fort Rucker offers many ways to recycle, including the Corvias Military Living program and the Fort Rucker Recycling Center, and according to Melissa Lowlavar, environmental management branch chief, the post is pulling its weight when it comes to helping with the growing epidemic of overflowing landfills.

“It is very easy to drop things off at our recycling center. No hassle, no paperwork and no fees. You can live off post, you can bring your neighbors’ stuff, you can be a civilian – it doesn’t matter when it comes to recycling,” she said. “We all should be stewards of the Earth. Everyone needs to do their part to make sure that future generations have all of the needed resources to live on this beautiful planet.”

The recycling center collects material year round. Some of the typical things it takes are cardboard, aluminum cans, paper, mixed plastics, old toner cartridges, scrap metal, wood pallets, and electronic waste, such as old cell phones, computers and compact discs.

“All of our efforts make a difference,” said Kevin Bryan, Fort Rucker environmental scientist. “Using plastics as an example: the number of bottles that it takes to make up a bale of plastic for recycling would more than fill up a standard in-ground swimming pool. That is a lot of space that we are saving in our local landfills.”

The fact that anyone can use the recycling center, with its easily accessible location at Bldg. 9322, and the fact that they collect materials at office buildings make them a good choice when it comes to local recycling, he continued.

For those that have daily recyclables, there are paper and cardboard recycling bins set up at a variety of locations around the installation. There is one in almost every office building, said Bryan. But for those with large amounts, the center is located in the middle of post for drop off.

“People can collect their segregated recyclables, drive up and into the warehouse where some of our staff will be glad to assist and direct them. On bad weather days, if the big roll-up door is closed, people will have to go through the smaller, personal door in order to get assistance.”

The center has a few rules when it comes to dropping things off to be recycled.

“People have to separate what they bring in and food residue cannot be in any of the containers,” said Lowlavar. Officials also request that pizza boxes not be brought in, and that bottles and cans that contained liquids be washed out to keep the facility as clean and rodent-free as possible.

“Parents should encourage children to be involved in the process and make it be educational,” she continued. “It really hits home with children when you tell them how long it takes certain things to biodegrade in the landfill.”

It’s just as easy taking something to the center as it is to bring it to the dump, added Bryan, saying that it is more efficient and healthier than letting it sit around the house.

Fort Rucker even has an incentive program to reward units and organizations for their recycling efforts.

“In the program, groups are awarded monetary credit towards their Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation account that they can utilize for numerous things. There are several units that have been credited several hundred dollars for their efforts,” he said.

Corvias has a separate recycling program that Soldiers and Families that live on post can utilize that has just as many opportunities to recycle with just as much ease.

“Each home comes with a 35-gallon rolling-recycling container that is picked up every Monday, and the program is free to use and you don’t have to sign up for it,” said Michael Gregory, Corvias Military Living facilities director.

The materials that are allowed in each container are: aluminum, steel and tin cans; cardboard; paper and paper bags; books; No. 1 and 2 plastic bottles; and pizza boxes.

Things that cannot go in the container are plastic bags, Styrofoam, yard waste, wax cartons and glass.

The recycling center at Bldg. 9322 is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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