Air Force focuses on recycling this Earth Day


MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. – As the nation celebrates the 45th annual Earth Day this April 22, the Air Force is re-emphasizing its standing commitment to environmental stewardship and encouraging its military and civilian workforce to promote recycling both at home and on the job, and asking them to leverage available opportunities to “Conserve Today – Secure Tomorrow.”

“The 452nd Air Mobility Wing is actively engaged in meeting or exceeding goals set by the Department of Defense for recycling,” said Col. Stephen Browning, vice commander. “In partnership with our local recycling yard and The Defense Logistics Agency, we have recycled all of our broken and replaced electronic equipment (and) we continue to devote time and resources to this very important endeavor.”

Installations across the enterprise are taking action to meet the Defense Department’s strategic sustainability performance plan goal of diverting 55 percent of non-hazardous solid waste, and 100 percent of electronics waste, this fiscal year and beyond.

“This is the highest diversion goal in the history of Air Force diversion efforts,” said Nancy Carper, subject matter expert on integrated solid waste management at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center.

Meeting these goals requires diligence and participation from everyone, from the recycling center manager looking for new ways to expand services, to office workers taking advantage of all available opportunities to recycle and not throwing out items like paper, plastic, aluminum cans and cardboard, Carper said.

Keeping abreast of recycling trends and opportunities helped the recycling program at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, “increase recycling volume from450,000 pounds annually 14 years ago to almost five million pounds annually today,” said Jesse Salinas, qualified recycling program manager there.

In an age of growing technology, the need for effective electronics recycling has garnered national attention.

While all Air Force-owned electronic equipment is required to be recycled through Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services (DLA-DS), the Air Force is encouraging its workforce to take proactive steps to keep home electronics out of the waste stream and is encouraging individuals to take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service’s Blue Earth Federal Recycling Program. Established in 2013, makes it easier for individuals to recycle personally owned ink cartridges and unwanted electronic devices free of charge using the postal network.

Air Force and other federal employees can send eligible electronics items through the mail to a certified recycler at no cost. Upon receipt, data are wiped from the devices to ensure privacy and information protection.