A military base is no different than a city when it comes to implementing recycling programs. Residents, visitors, and members of out-lying areas must be taken into account. This is the case at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, where the recycling program includes curbside and drop-off sites for both military personnel and civilians.
Since October 1988, steel and aluminum cans; clear, brown, and green glass; all types of paper; plastic containers; heavy and light steels; white appliances; and car batteries have been collected and processed for recycling.
“Captain Kevin Delaney, the commanding officer of the base, implemented the program because recycling is good for the environment and because it reduces the cost of hauling waste to landfills,” said Master Chief Mo Armstrong.
Before the program began, Armstrong raised awareness of the importance of recycling by using digital displays, passing out fliers, and making personal appearances. In addition, several recycling options were created so that individuals could participate in the recycling program which best fit their needs. His efforts paid off. The base-wide participation
rate is 85%, and every building on base is recycling something.
In the curbside collection program, residents of 408 military housing units can place their recyclables at the curb. Two bins are provided per house: one for steel and aluminum cans and plastic containers; the other for various types of paper. The recyclables are picked up once a week.
A drop-off collection bin is located at the recycling center itself of the convenience of the 15,000 civilians who work on the base, the 32,000 retired persons who live in apartments located off the base, and the 15,000 reservists who stay at the base each weekend. In addition, a drop-off center with Igloo containers is located in front of the Navy Exchange Complex.
An incentive program is geared toward office personnel on the base. Individuals bring their recyclables directly to the drop-off location at the recycling center and are entered into a drawing to win prizes like a free airline ticket and a weekend for two downtown. Originally created to promote office paper recycling, many office personnel also bring recyclables from home.
A local elementary school is also involved in recycling at the base. Students collect steel and aluminum cans and plastic jugs, then bring the recyclables to the base.
Base personnel pick-up, sort, and haul all recyclables. The steel cans are magnetically separated with a can flattener, then they are hauled to Commercial Metals in Jacksonville.
Created because of environmental and landfill concerns, as well as for cost avoidance savings, the program has been recognized for its success through several awards: the National Recycling Coalition Business Award for Best Recycling Program in the U.S., the Secretary of the Navy’s Environmental Award for Non-Industrial Base, and the Keep America Beautiful Award for Federal, State, and Governmental Agencies.