Contamination has been a continuous problem at Fort Hood Recycle. Plagued with non-recyclable materials like food waste, diapers and sharps, the recycle program is also having to deal with dead animal remains on a weekly basis.
As hunting season picks up, more carcasses from ducks to deer and turkey parts have been tossed into containers, contaminating loads of recyclables and potentially becoming a culprit for jamming machinery and posing a health issue.
“This seems obvious, but unfortunately we’ve seen so many animal remains at our facility and in our containers that we have to say ‘keep dead animal waste out of recycle,’” Michael Bush, operations manager at Fort Hood Recycle, said. “There has been repeated abuse of our recycle service and containers by people who don’t care.”
Animal carcasses and parts like a Gadwall duck, green-winged teal duck and deer head and hind leg have come across the sorting conveyor belt, posing a health hazard to recycle team members.
“When Soldiers, families and civilians don’t follow the rules and don’t recycle correctly, it creates a dangerous work environment for our team,” Bush said. “It also takes revenue away from the program and the Fort Hood community because recyclables surrounding the dead animals have to be thrown away.”
Fort Hood’s Chief Game Warden Capt. Al Langford explained that perpetrators of illegal dumping, illegal take and wanton waste of game animal and bird face fines from $100 up to $2,000 and potentially more.
“One would think it is easy to understand what does or does not go into the recycle bins. They’re clearly not for deceased animals or birds,” Langford said. “If anyone is observed disposing of wildlife in a blue recycle container or the brown trash dumpster, gather as much information as possible concerning the person, license plate and vehicle make and model and contact the Fort Hood Police Desk at 254-287-4001.”
Langford said either him or one of his game wardens will be dispatched to the site to investigate.
“Game wardens can assist any violators in the learning process, and will also issue citations with large fine amounts,” he said.
Jim Imhoff, engineering technician with the Directorate of Public Works, added if an individual comes across dead animals in the cantonment to contact the DPW Work Order Desk at 254-287-2113.
“The Work Order Desk will coordinate with Animal Control to pick up the dead animal, collect and dispose of it at the landfill,” Imhoff said. “If it is a resident in (Fort Hood) Family Housing, bag it and take it to the landfill for direct bury.”
Imhoff explained the brown trash dumpsters across Fort Hood are only for municipal waste generated from the facilities and not for disposal of animal carcasses or parts. Any other use besides municipal waste is considered illegal dumping or theft of services.
To help understand where everything goes and how to recycle and properly dispose of items, download the free Fort Hood Recycle app.
“Respect the fact that our team is hand sorting materials, trying to bale high quality recyclable material,” Bush said. “Help be vigilant, recycle right and encourage others to do their part.”
To report illegal dumping, contact the Directorate of Emergency Services at 254-287-4001.