MacDill achieves ambitious 40% recycling goal
by Jeff Sprinkmann
For the past four years, MacDill has achieved an ambitious 43 percent solid waste diversion goal helping MacDill save over $1 million in disposal costs that were never incurred.
This means that we are reducing, recycling, and/or reusing almost half of the refuse we generate instead of disposing these valuable natural resources in the landfill or incinerator. This 40 percent goal is a challenging level in the recycling world and rivals innovative states like California and Oregon that recycle or reduce up to 50 percent of their refuse. The achievement also aligns MacDill with Executive Order 13101: 'Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition.' It states that all Department of Defense installations will achieve a solid waste diversion rate (from landfilling or incineration) of 40 percent.
Last year MacDill disposed of more than 8,000 tons of refuse. Disposal occurs at the McKay Bay Incinerator in Tampa, just south of Ybor City where our waste is burned at very high temperatures. This process produces polluting air emissions, which are discharged into the local atmosphere, and ash which requires disposal at the county landfill. Recycling prevents these emissions and expensive disposal costs. Generally, each ton of refuse MacDill costs on average roughly $120 to $140 per ton to incinerate. So each ton MacDill recycles saves roughly $90 to $100 of those refuse disposal costs, while also preventing air emissions and often generating revenue when our recyclable items are properly separated.
The environmental and economic benefits of recycling are top priorities to base leadership. Commenting on the importance of recycling, 6th Civil Engineer Commander, Lt. Col. John Prater said, "Just look around at all the trash we generate on a daily basis. We can use something once and send it off to the incinerator or landfill, thereby wasting our resources and creating pollution. Or, we can be environmental stewards and reuse and recycle, and do our part to reduce the contamination and our impact on forests and other non-renewable resources that we harvest for new products. Think about it, don't we all deserve the cleanest and healthiest environment possible? Recycling is an easy way to start doing our part for the environment."
MacDill recycles cardboard, office paper, newspaper, mixed paper, aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers, yard and wood waste, scrap metal, used oil, jet fuel, antifreeze, batteries, fluorescent lights, and concrete material from construction and demolition debris. Yard and wood waste, cardboard, and scrap metal can be dropped off at the Transfer Station (extension 828-8409) during normal business hours. Aluminum, cardboard, mixed paper, and plastic can be recycled at three, centralized, recycling collection areas located in the middle of the Commissary and American Eatery/Pool parking lots and the third location is at FamCamp, next to the laundry facilities.
In the next few weeks, the 6th CES Environmental Flight will be distributing educational, recycling magnets to all housing residents. The "Win the War Against Waste" magnets provide helpful pickup dates and times as well as instructions on how to separate your recyclables to prevent contamination for housing residents. If your squadron would like magnets and/or additional recycling bins for distribution to employees, the Environmental Flight has extras. So, feel free to request from Jeff Sprinkmann at 828-0460.
With over 7,000 people working or living at MacDill generating more than 8,000 tons of refuse per year, each person will need to reduce, reuse, and recycle roughly a half or a ton more, per year, to continue our 40 percent goal track record. The recycling goal that MacDill has committed to requires everybody's participation. We have set the recycling bar high to help keep our air and environment clean and beautiful for us and our future generations.
For more information regarding recycling, contact Jeff Sprinkmann at 828-0460.