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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Recycling program reduces waste

By Mr. Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | | April 19, 2007

The Environmental Branch here shares the responsibility with service members, their families and employees to protect the environment aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

Recycling is just one of the many ways that is used to care for the environment.

Recycling is the collection of used materials and reprocessing and remanufacturing them into usable products. Such items include glass bottles, office paper, newspapers, plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans and aerosol cans.

“The main purpose for the base recycling program is to reduce the amount of solid waste we dispose of, not monetary profit,” said John Topper, environmental protective specialist, Environmental Branch, Installation and Environment Division. “The responsibility of recycling and protecting the environment is everyone’s job, not just the Environmental Branch.”

Topper said everyone should take an active roll in taking care of the environment, highlighting Earth Day – a day (April 22) set aside to promote environmental awareness and highlight concerns over pollution of the soil, air, and water.

“However, here in the Environmental Branch, every day is Earth Day,” Topper said. “Earth Day is not just about planting trees and flowers, which beautifies the Earth, it is also about recycling. If people would not throw their trash on the ground, it would help us have a better Earth Day.” 

He encourages everyone to participate in recycling at work and at home in support of Earth Day. 

“The recycling emblem is a triangle of arrows going from one point to another point to another point,” he said.  “This means that whatever we take out the Earth, we put back into the system and possibly back into the Earth.”

The recycling program here not only helps the base but also the local community.

“One way we are helping is with used telephone books,” he said.  “We collect all used telephone books and give them to Radium Springs Middle School.  They recycle the books and the money they get goes back into the school system.”

Topper said the program is being used but he wanted service members, their families and employees to become more aware and conscientious of the program and use it better.

According to Base Policy Statement 3-04, all residents of base housing and base employees are encouraged to participate in the base’s recycling program.

Housing residents are provided with recycling bins to separate their recyclable material.  

“It is important that the residents recycle and to place the material in the appropriate containers,” said John Shaw, material handler, recycling center, Environmental Branch. “If items are not separated correctly, a note will be left on the items stating why they are not picked up.”

Topper encourages all employees aboard the base to partake in the program. 

“Employees don’t have to look too hard to find a recycling bin in your work area.” Topper said. “Most recycle bins are located in the wings of each building.” 

Employees and residents are asked to make sure only recyclable material be put inside the containers.  Topper stressed that the workers in the recycling center do not pick up trash, they pick up recyclables.

“If we can get everyone to do what they are supposed to do, and not mix recyclables with trash, it would not only make our job easier but it will make the environment cleaner as well,” Topper added.

Once the recyclables are picked up from around the base, they are brought to the Recycling Center and sorted.  

Bottles are sorted by their color: green, clear and brown are put into drums. Paper products including white paper, color paper and newspaper are divided and put into separate bins. Plastic bottles and jugs are sorted into individual bags while aluminum cans and aerosol cans are crushed using separate crushing machines.

Some of the recyclables generated can be sold to help support the recycling program but many items such as plastics and glass are given away.  The remaining is put into trash trailers. Once the trash trailers are full, they are driven to the land fill.  For each ton of material that goes in the landfill, MCLB Albany is charged $27.  

“The more we recycle, the less material will go to the landfill,” he said. “The money the base receives from its recycling program is funneled back into the base.”

He also said that recycling helps keep the landfill from filling up. 

“With dwindling available landfill space, recycling is something that everyone could and should participate in,” he said. “It (recycling) reduces the amount of solid waste sent to the local landfills and helps reduce the amount of virgin raw materials needed in industry. Both of these are good for the environment.”  

According to Topper, recycling will always be a big part of our lives. 

“It is very important that everyone does their part,” he said. “To have a cleaner tomorrow, we must recycle today. To preserve the future for our children, we must continue to find additional ways to recycle.”

“Recycling is easy,” Topper said. “If you see a piece of paper, a bottle or trash on the ground, pick it up and put it in the proper bin. Take the time and do what is right for the environment.”

For more information on the recycling program call 639-5637.  Tips for successful recycling

The following are some examples of acceptable recyclables (examples are not all inclusive):

Recyclables:  clear, brown or green glass.   What can be recycled:  juice bottles, beer and wine bottles, mayonnaise jars and baby food jars.

What cannot be recycled: light bulbs, crystal, coffee mugs, ovenware, clay flower pots and plates.

Preparation:  rinse well and remove lids. Labels may remain.

Recyclables:  aluminum and steel cans.

What can be recycled:  soda, soup, juice and vegetable cans, aluminum foil without food contamination. 

What cannot be recycled: aluminum foil or pie pans with food contamination and aerosol cans.

Preparation:  Rinse well and remove lids.  Labels may remain.

Recyclables:  newspapers and telephone directories.

What can be recycled:  Newspapers and all inserts.

What cannot be recycled:  TV guides or any magazine with grainy newspaper pages, paperbacks and hardback books and comic books.

Preparation:  keep dry.

Recyclables:  cardboard.

What can be recycled:  cereal, shoe, paper and detergent boxes and brown grocery paper bags.

What cannot be recycled:  pizza boxes contaminated with food or grease, milk cartons, paper plates, frozen food boxes, boxes made of wax-coated paper and boxes with foam glued to boxes.

Preparation: keep dry, flatten and place beside the plastic curbside collection container.

Recyclables: clear plastics or the see-through tinted ones that are used as food containers such as opaque milk jugs, water, juice, sport drinks, and soda bottles.

What cannot be recycled: white plastic jugs, plastic buckets, detergent, oil, antifreeze, bleach or any container that has held a hazardous material, plastic bags (grocery, fertilizer or trash) plastic wrap, plastic food trays, Styrofoam, diapers, any of the popcorn/peanut or bubble packing material.