Recycling reaps benefits for post
Story by: Jessica Healey
1ST INF. DIV. POST
Editor's Note: This is the third installment of a three-part series on recycling at Fort Riley.
At Fort Riley, recycling brings monetary benefits, as well as environmental ones.
Last year, the Fort Riley Recycle Center donated more than $260,000 to the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
That money is in addition to making enough money to pay for its own operating expenses and employees.
"Our first priority for the money is to pay for the operations of the recycle center, then the money we have left over, we are able to give to DFMWR or unit awards to troops for recycling, or operations here (new equipment), and we are going to be a sponsor for (Fall Apple Day Festival)," said Randy Smith, recycle and solid waste coordinator, Fort Riley Recycle Center, Pollution Prevention Branch, Directorate of Public Works.
"We gave $268,000 last year, and we've only got 40 percent of the people on Fort Riley recycling," said Janet Schaad, administrative support assistant, Fort Riley Recycle Center, Pollution Prevention Branch, DPW. "If we could even get 75 percent of the people recycling, look how much more we could give back."
Money made from the recycling center has helped DFMWR remodel the Custer Hill Bowling Center. And through the Troop Incentive Program, units can earn money to supplement funds for unit activities, like parties and organizational days.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency's website, in 2011 about 34 percent of Americans were recycling. In 1990, only 15 percent of Americans recycled.
Also, according to EPA's website, more than 9,800 curbside recycling programs exist nationwide. Fort Riley is home to one of those programs.
All post recycling comes to the center three times a week, Schaad said, and that includes all the recycling from housing.
To recycle from a home located on post, no sorting is necessary; recyclable materials can be placed directly into the appropriate receptacle, and it will be sorted at the center.
"One of the battles that we're having is to get people to recycle," Schaad said.
"Everything that has to go into the dumpster, we have to pay to dispose of because we don't have a sanitary landfill here at Fort Riley," Smith said. "We have to take it to the transfer station in Junction City, and we have to pay for that. So, if we're putting recyclables in the trash, it is really costing us because we could've recycled and made money, but we're paying to get rid of that quantity instead."
For more information, call 785-239-2094/2385.