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Base recycling program generates more than pocket change

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Schriever Air Force Base has $40,000 and is searching for ideas on ways to spend it.
In today's restrained funding environment, there's one base program running a surplus: Schriever's Qualified Recycling Program.

Doug Chase, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental engineer and the base's qualified recycling program manager, initiated an ambitious recycling program a couple of years ago.

"We began recycling (plastics and paper) at the dumpster sites several years ago, but those recycling dumpsters really just pay for themselves," he said. "Now, these dumpsters are valuable to the base because they help us cut the funds we spend on municipal waste disposal. But when people hear that we're making money from recycling, they assume it's coming from those recycling dumpsters, but it's not."

The surplus began accumulating after Chase introduced metals, toner cartridges and lead-acid battery recycling. This year, the program is now offering recycling for electronics, used motor oil and used cooking oil.

"This is something a lot of people on base are still unaware of," he said. "So, there's plenty of room for growth."

Toner cartridges are the biggest surplus producers, but Chase said the metals, electronics and battery collection bins have seen more usage recently.

This year, it's estimated that the program will generate $17,000 to $20,000 in additional revenue.

"This money will go toward benefitting the Schriever community," Chase said. "We can spend it on anything, but we would like to support morale, welfare and recreation on the base."

The Schriever Recycling Working Group, an organization that meets quarterly, decides among other things, how to spend funding earned through recycling.

During the past year, the group has existed of a few representatives from a variety of buildings and organizations on base. But, Chase and Andy Jensen, 50 CES Environmental Flight chief, are hoping to see greater participation.

"The recycling working group is a way for us to bring in ideas and initiatives from people outside of the environmental office," Jensen said. "The input helps us take the recycling program in directions that we may not have thought of. Recycling is in everyone's best interest and everyone has the opportunity to have their ideas heard."

Several ideas have come out of previous RWG meetings and Chase said a few have the potential to be implemented in the future.

"Again, these are potential future projects that could be funded by our recycling revenue," Chase said. "They include a combination greenhouse/garden-compost potting site, a do-it-yourself oil change center, a nitrogen tire-filling station and my favorite, a summer sprinkler pad that could provide some entertaining summer relief for adults and children without the need of trained lifeguards."

For more information on the Schriever RWG or recycling collection areas on base, contact the 50 CES Environmental Flight at 567-4242.

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