By Regan Mertz
In 2017, Fort Leonard Wood recycled or diverted approximately 9,000 tons of material from landfills in Missouri.
Recycling is measured in terms of tons of material diverted from landfills. Materials that can be recycled are paper products such as cardboard, paperboard, office paper, mixed paper like magazines and junk mail, and newspaper, aluminum cans, clean foil, plastic types 1, 2, 5 and 7, steel and tin cans. Green, clear and brown glass are also options.
“The recycling center accepts a wide variety of materials,” said Ron Blevins, Fort Leonard Wood Environmental Protection assistant. “The center also accepts serviceable wood pallets from activities on (post) and used, non-contaminated motor oil from on-post residents.”
The installation uses a contractor to retrieve the recyclable materials from central collection locations like the Exchange and Mini Mall. The collection point in the Exchange parking lot is made up of a “multi-compartment bin” that allows individuals to sort their recyclables into cardboard and glass bins.
“It is important for customers to properly sort their recyclables,” Blevins said. “Mixing recyclables directly produces an increase in labor costs when sorted later and reduced revenue as mixed recyclables are worth less than if properly sorted.”
The contractor also collects from the several cardboard and paper bins outside of office buildings. In addition, the housing office runs a separate recycling program that services only privatized housing.
“If housing occupants wish, they can take their recyclables directly to drop off locations at the Exchange, Mini Mall or the recycling center,” he said.
The drop off points are at the Exchange and Mini Mall parking lots as well as the Fort Leonard Wood Recycling Center, located in Building 2549 on Ordnance Drive. Each area is open 24 hours, so recyclable materials can be dropped off anytime.
“Units can also request the recycling trailer for on-post events, such as unit organizational days by calling 573.596.7033,” Blevins said.
After the recyclables have been collected, personnel at the recycling center begin preparations for sale. Preparations usually involve compressing the material into bales or blocks that weigh about 1,200 pounds. Then, the compressed material is sold to mills that continue to refine it so that manufacturers can transform the recycled material into new products.
“There are three general uses for funds generated from the sale of recyclables,” Blevins said.
The first use is for operational costs.
“Under the business plan, the program must be self-sustaining and therefore the first expenses paid with any revenue made, are those associated with the operation and maintenance of the recycling program,” he said.
The second use of recycling revenue is for approved initiatives that focus on issues such as pollution prevention and energy and water conservation. Third is the installation’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program.
FMWR events paid for by the fort’s recycling efforts include: the spring egg hunt, Fourth of July celebration, winter holiday tree lighting and extended hours at the fitness centers.
For more information, visit www.wood.army.mil/newweb/garrison/recycle.html or call 573.596.3843.