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Fort Hood expands recycling effort

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Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 4:28 pm, Thu Feb 6, 2014.

Recycling is about to get much easier for families living in on-post housing.

Beginning in January, the Directorate of Public Works will start distributing 96-gallon containers for all Fort Hood Family Housing residents to throw all of their recyclables into for pickup, said Brian Dosa, director of public works.

These bins will replace the two smaller bins residents currently use and have continuously said are too small and restrictive. The change is expected to double the amount of recycling coming from on-post housing to about 100 tons a month.

“We have heard from residents, ‘If you want us to be serious about recycling, give us a big enough bin,’” he said. “This is something residents have asked for.”

In the smaller bins, residents had to organize their recycling to allow collectors to quickly sort through it as they drove through neighborhoods.

The new containers will be collected using a truck and require no sorting at all. All recyclable items can go directly into the bin.

Fort Hood Family Housing was an under-performing area of recycling and Dosa expects the new bins will increase participation. Two post villages — McNair and Venable — were selected for a pilot program with the large containers, which began in October 2011. Public works measured the amount of recycling produced to track results.

While the typical on-post home averages 15 pounds per month, Venable more than doubled its recycling — 36 pounds per home per month, Dosa said.

“That confirmed what other cities have found out,” Dosa said, and his team moved forward with purchasing the 6,000 more bins needed to provide one for each home on post. Each bin costs $60.

Started recycling

Carol Parker, mayor of McNair Village, had never recycled until she moved to Fort Hood about a year and a half ago. She keeps her 96-gallon bin just outside her kitchen door, so she said she can rinse items and put them straight into recycling.

“Because the option was given to me and it’s so convenient, why would I not recycle when I’ve got a bin right there,” she said.

Now that she knows what can and can’t be recycled, she’s educated her family. The transition to the larger container made a big difference, as well. Parker said she now has room for those big items, such as laundry detergent bottles, that took up too much room in the old bin.

“I try to encourage people to lead by example,” Parker said. “If they see their neighbors take out the recycling, they’ll think, ‘I better take mine out, too.’”

This type of recycling is referred to as single-stream, and Fort Hood does not have the capability to recycle it on post. Public works can only recycle sorted items and will continue to do so, said Steve Burrow, chief of environmental programs.

“It’s more industrial,” he said.

More items

The single-stream recycling collected in family housing will be sent to Wilco Recycling in Taylor and will only be collected every two weeks.

Dosa said this is to balance out the cost of driving the material and shouldn’t cut into the profit Fort Hood makes from recycling and gives back to on-post programs such as Freedom Fest.

Using Wilco also means residents can recycle more items.

Before only plastics No. 1 and 2 could be recycled, but now residents can include Nos. 3 through 7. Glass was only recyclable when brought to a central collection point, but can now be tossed into the bins with everything else. The only type of plastic still not acceptable is plastic bags, which can be taken to many local retailers to be recycled.

Comanche II first

Comanche II is the first village where recycling bins will be delivered, followed by Wainwright. Once the bins are delivered, constant education is required to ensure everyone understands when to recycle and what to recycle. If trash gets into the recycling, Wilco could reject an entire load, Dosa said, adding Fort Hood would then have to pay to dump everything into a landfill.

“We will do spot checking the morning of pickup,” Dosa said. If a contaminated recycling container is found, it will be flagged and the resident informed of the problem.

“It’s not a citation,” said Hermelinda Sandifer, chief of the housing division. “It’s an education piece. We are going to be in that mode for quite a while.”

Educating residents

Aside from flagging contaminated bins, she said the housing division plans to educate residents through several outlets, including door-to-door education by community life noncommissioned officers, flyers, letters and branding on the bins.

“It’s going to be constant,” Sandifer said. “Fifty percent of our quarters vacate each year.”

Dosa said one of the biggest challenges is they will also be working against an area where recycling is not considered a priority as it is in cities such as Austin.

“It’s not part of the Central Texas culture,” he said. “That’s why the Cent-Tex Partnership is really important, because it’s easier to have us work together to work toward common goals. Copperas Cove has done a great job of being on the cutting edge.”

When Fort Hood residents see recyclable items in the trash in surrounding communities, it works against the culture public works is trying to create, he said.

Post initiative

All of this is pushing Fort Hood closer to reaching the goal of Net Zero Waste by 2020 — that means Fort Hood will send nothing to the landfill.

Last year’s Net Zero goal was 45 percent diversion of all waste from the landfill, said Burrow. Public works fell short, reaching 44 percent. Next year’s goal is 50 percent diversion.

Once family housing begins to shape up, the next most under-performing section of Fort Hood is the barracks.

For more information on recycling in each housing village, contact the community center.

 

By Rose L. Thayer

Fort Hood Herald

Recycling is about to get much easier for families living in on-post housing.

Beginning in January, the Directorate of Public Works will start distributing 96-gallon containers for all Fort Hood Family Housing residents to throw all of their recyclables into for pickup, said Brian Dosa, director of public works.

These bins will replace the two smaller bins residents currently use and have continuously said are too small and restrictive. The change is expected to double the amount of recycling coming from on-post housing to about 100 tons a month.

“We have heard from residents, ‘If you want us to be serious about recycling, give us a big enough bin,’” he said. “This is something residents have asked for.”

In the smaller bins, residents had to organize their recycling to allow collectors to quickly sort through it as they drove through neighborhoods.

The new containers will be collected using a truck and require no sorting at all. All recyclable items can go directly into the bin.

Fort Hood Family Housing was an under-performing area of recycling and Dosa expects the new bins will increase participation. Two post villages — McNair and Venable — were selected for a pilot program with the large containers, which began in October 2011. Public works measured the amount of recycling produced to track results.

While the typical on-post home averages 15 pounds per month, Venable more than doubled its recycling — 36 pounds per home per month, Dosa said.

“That confirmed what other cities have found out,” Dosa said, and his team moved forward with purchasing the 6,000 more bins needed to provide one for each home on post. Each bin costs $60.

Started recycling

Carol Parker, mayor of McNair Village, had never recycled until she moved to Fort Hood about a year and a half ago. She keeps her 96-gallon bin just outside her kitchen door, so she said she can rinse items and put them straight into recycling.

“Because the option was given to me and it’s so convenient, why would I not recycle when I’ve got a bin right there,” she said.

Now that she knows what can and can’t be recycled, she’s educated her family. The transition to the larger container made a big difference, as well. Parker said she now has room for those big items, such as laundry detergent bottles, that took up too much room in the old bin.

“I try to encourage people to lead by example,” Parker said. “If they see their neighbors take out the recycling, they’ll think, ‘I better take mine out, too.’”

This type of recycling is referred to as single-stream, and Fort Hood does not have the capability to recycle it on post. Public works can only recycle sorted items and will continue to do so, said Steve Burrow, chief of environmental programs.

“It’s more industrial,” he said.

More items

The single-stream recycling collected in family housing will be sent to Wilco Recycling in Taylor and will only be collected every two weeks.

Dosa said this is to balance out the cost of driving the material and shouldn’t cut into the profit Fort Hood makes from recycling and gives back to on-post programs such as Freedom Fest.

Using Wilco also means residents can recycle more items.

Before only plastics No. 1 and 2 could be recycled, but now residents can include Nos. 3 through 7. Glass was only recyclable when brought to a central collection point, but can now be tossed into the bins with everything else. The only type of plastic still not acceptable is plastic bags, which can be taken to many local retailers to be recycled.

Comanche II first

Comanche II is the first village where recycling bins will be delivered, followed by Wainwright. Once the bins are delivered, constant education is required to ensure everyone understands when to recycle and what to recycle. If trash gets into the recycling, Wilco could reject an entire load, Dosa said, adding Fort Hood would then have to pay to dump everything into a landfill.

“We will do spot checking the morning of pickup,” Dosa said. If a contaminated recycling container is found, it will be flagged and the resident informed of the problem.

“It’s not a citation,” said Hermelinda Sandifer, chief of the housing division. “It’s an education piece. We are going to be in that mode for quite a while.”

Educating residents

Aside from flagging contaminated bins, she said the housing division plans to educate residents through several outlets, including door-to-door education by community life noncommissioned officers, flyers, letters and branding on the bins.

“It’s going to be constant,” Sandifer said. “Fifty percent of our quarters vacate each year.”

Dosa said one of the biggest challenges is they will also be working against an area where recycling is  not considered a priority as it is in cities such as Austin.

“It’s not part of the Central Texas culture,” he said. “That’s why the Cent-Tex Partnership is really important, because it’s easier to have us work together to work toward common goals. Copperas Cove has done a great job of being on the cutting edge.”

When Fort Hood residents see recyclable items in the trash in surrounding communities, it works against the culture public works is trying to create, he said.

Post initiative

All of this is pushing Fort Hood closer to reaching the goal of Net Zero Waste by 2020 — that means Fort Hood will send nothing to the landfill.

Last year’s Net Zero goal was 45 percent diversion of all waste from the landfill, said Burrow. Public works fell short, reaching 44 percent. Next year’s goal is 50 percent diversion.

Once family housing begins to shape up, the next most under-performing section of Fort Hood is the barracks.

For more information on recycling in each housing village, contact the community center.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@khdnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

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1 comment:

  • mzfitz posted at 9:15 am on Thu, Dec 13, 2012.

    mzfitz Posts: 19

    Really? There's huge recycling containers at both commissary's and they can't be bothered to take their recyclables there?

     

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