Military and civilian leaders joined Brig. Gen. Darren Werner, director of sustainment for III Corps, and Brian Dosa, director of Public Works, for an environmental quality control committee meeting Oct. 2 at the Fort Hood Recycle Center.
Dosa explained the purpose of the quarterly forum was to share successes, challenges and lessons learned with commanders and units.
“You’ll learn about how we do our recycle business and more importantly, how you can go back and change your behavior and the behavior of your team or family so we can do even better with recycling,” Dosa said. “Recycling is the right thing to do, not only from an environmental standpoint, but it also helps us with readiness and training and quality of life in our community. The profits from our recycle center go back into the community.”
Michael Bush, recycle operations manager for Fort Hood Recycle, explained to leaders that as a non-appropriated funded operation, the center is self-sustaining, because operating costs and salaries are covered by returns from recycling.
“When you all do the right things and help support the program, not only can we cover the cost of operation, but we also give back to the installation,” he said. “It is not only good for the environment but a real economic benefit for doing so.”
At an average of $100,000 profit each year, recycling helps to sponsor events like Nature in Lights, Oktoberfest, Month of the Military Child, fireworks for the Independence Day celebration, UFC Fight Nights and other Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation events.
As leaders walked through the center, Bush explained the challenges he and his team have encountered, such as growing challenges of contamination from items like lithium batteries, sharps, food waste and ammunition.
“Improper disposal of hazardous and explosive materials presents a real danger to our team,” Bush said. “We need customers to think before they put something like ammunition and needles into our recycle containers.”
Bush explained the weight of equipment and fast-paced sorting and processing system can create pressure that could easily cause a bullet to discharge or a lithium battery to explode. When personnel come across these items, they have been instructed to clear the area and notify a supervisor.
During the tour, Tisa Johnson, quality assurance specialist ammunition surveillance, Ammunition Supply Point, explained how an amnesty box was installed at the recycle center to reduce safety risks to personnel and help the facility to support its mission.
“If any ammunition is found, the supervisor is trained to handle those items,” Johnson said. “By placing an amnesty box within their footprint, it allows Fort Hood Recycle to continue their operation.”
In one week, Johnson collected more than 1,000 casings from the amnesty box, ranging from 50 caliber to 25 mm caliber and 12 gauge shells to loaded 5.56 cartridge magazines.
“When Soldiers, families and civilians don’t recycle correctly, it can create a dangerous work environment for our team and also takes revenue away from the program and the Fort Hood community,” Bush said.
The tour concluded with Werner explaining the forum was a great opportunity to get stakeholders together and on track.
“The recycling program here at Fort Hood is a revenue generator,” he said. “The team has helped us get here, but we can actually do better.”
With the decreasing amount of recyclables generated in Family Housing and increasing amount trash and contamination, Werner explained that through education and action, we can shift that red to green pretty easily.
“The takeaway is understanding how important the recycling program is, how it generates revenue and how this material does go to another location for reuse and not a landfill,” he said. “We have the recycle capability and everyone knows what it is. We need to make sure in your motor pools and workplaces that we come up with those solutions and create those actions. Make sure as you are leading your environmental compliance operations within your formation, that you are thinking it through from a Soldier’s point of view.”
For information on recycle resources, call Fort Hood Recycle at 254-287-2336 or visit Facebook.com/FortHoodRecycle.