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Dumpster moves aimed at improving recycling rate

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Anyone who has taken out their office trash recently may have noticed their dumpster sporting a new look.

The 50th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental office recently added recycling dumpsters at Buildings 15, 101,120, 406, 500, 620, 700 and 815.

"The new recycling dumpsters should help us improve our recycling diversion rate," said Doug Chase, 50th Space Wing recycling program manager. "For fiscal 2013, 48 percent of our municipal solid waste was recycled. The Air Force has set a goal for every base to recycle 55 percent of its solid waste by 2015. We're getting close, but we still have some room to improve."

Following his last quarterly dumpster assessment, Chase devised a plan to move recycling dumpsters from some areas to places or buildings where they were needed.

"During his assessments, Doug will pull materials out of refuse dumpsters and calculate the percentage of recyclable material contained therein," said Meghan Lloyd, 50 CES environmental support specialist. "In essence, each building gets a recycling report card. We used that to determine where best to use our existing recycling dumpsters."

For example, Building 720 has a recycling compactor, so Chase removed five of its recycling dumpsters for use at other buildings around base. Likewise, he moved three dumpsters from Building 440 for use in other areas.

"Our goal is to have zero percent recyclable material going to the landfill," said Lloyd, who has assumed responsibility for the program's outreach and awareness campaign.

Chase explained that he has been finding a lot of cardboard in the refuse dumpsters, as well as plastic bottles, cans and No. 6 plastic clamshell containers, all of which can be recycled. The environmental office reminds people that Schriever's dining facilities use No. 6 plastic clamshells and that a simple scraping of food will suffice before depositing them in recycling bins.

Lloyd is producing signs and posters to increase recycling awareness around the base. The new posters will show building recycling dumpster locations as well as collection points for scrap metal, toner cartridge and electronics.

Schriever's waste management contractor will also slowly switch out recycling dumpsters with new ones that carry yellow lids to help people better distinguish between recycle and refuse dumpsters.

While the look of recycling on base is changing, Chase and Lloyd hope recycling awareness continues to gain traction.

They lead the Schriever recycling working group, which meets quarterly. The group allows representatives from each building to discuss specific recycling concerns and issues while creating a forum for improving recycling on base.

For more information about recycling or to join the recycling working group, contact Lloyd at 567-3910.
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