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Waste management efforts under way

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Around the country there has been a continual effort for energy independence and the push to take the environment into consideration wherever we can. Currently, there is an ongoing Air Force-wide initiative to educate Airmen, civilian employees and family members on the importance of solid waste management on their installations and encourage their personal involvement through reduction, reuse and recycling. (U.S. Air Force photo/Stephanie Ashley)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Around the country there has been a continual effort for energy independence and the push to take the environment into consideration wherever we can. Currently, there is an ongoing Air Force-wide initiative to educate Airmen, civilian employees and family members on the importance of solid waste management on their installations and encourage their personal involvement through reduction, reuse and recycling. (U.S. Air Force photo/Stephanie Ashley)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Around the country there has been a continual effort for energy independence and the push to take the environment into consideration wherever one can.

Currently, there is an ongoing Air Force-wide initiative to educate Airmen, civilian employees and family members on the importance of solid waste management on their installations and encourage their personal involvement through reduction, reuse and recycling.

Air Force leadership understands waste management plays a crucial role in the development of green processes in various ways and established The Win the War Against Waste program.

The program was established to meet an Air Force goal of diverting 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste from landfills, not including construction and demolition waste, by 2015, and has themed its efforts - "conserving today to secure tomorrow".

According to Joey Specht, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental engineer, the Minot AFB environmental management system team has taken initiatives to more effectively manage base programs in the areas of recycling, reusing and reduction of waste.

He said the base exceeded its goal of a 5 percent reduction in hazardous waste generation for the past four years by almost 9 percent.

Specht said, most recently the base recycled 639.5 tons of non-hazardous solid waste in fiscal year 2011 and 3635.6 tons of non-hazardous solid waste was sent to the disposal facility.
He added there was 117.9 tons of cardboard and paper recycled through the base Refuse and Recycling Contract recycling dumpsters.

Minot AFB currently provides services for paper and cardboard recycling. The recycling of plastic, glass, aluminum and steel/tin cans is left to base residents to take to downtown Minot. The Auto Hobby shop also accepts used oil, anti-freeze, fuel and oil filters.

Specht explained the importance of getting the word out about effective waste management.

"We encourage base residents to purchase environmentally friendly products and not stockpile hazardous chemicals," said Specht. "We also recommend residents give excess hazardous material, such as cleaning chemicals, to neighbors rather than disposing."

Leading by example plays an important factor in promoting recycling efforts and the base has re-issue programs in place here to make that happen, including the First-In First-Out Policy designed to decrease the amount of expiring products by using old products before using newer ones.

"We also have free issue materials at Hazmart," said Specht. "Items no longer needed by one organization, such as paint, can be delivered to Hazmart for reissue to another."

He explained the importance of effectively dealing with waste management.

"The impact of waste can be significant to the environment if mismanaged," said Specht. "Studying the waste generated by individual processes, such as parts cleaning with solvent, provides insight into the environmental impact of the process and will ultimately help guide us in sustaining the environment for future generations."
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