Recycling Inspections: Lessons Learned

  • Published
  • By Eric Vichich
  • 6th Civil Engineer Squadron Recycling Program manager
A team of volunteers inspected the base in January to assess compliance with environmental regulations and policies. Recycling was a major focus of the effort as the base strived to improve performance in this area to meet an ambitious goal established by Executive Order 13154. MacDill currently diverts 45% of its waste from the landfill/incinerator, but the EO calls for the diversion of at least 50% by the end of fiscal year 15. This means that we have to find a way to recycle at least 21 more tons (approx. two pounds per person) every month. The 6th Air Mobility Wing leadership has deemed reaching the EO goal as an important "outcome" to be tracked and achieved.

Thirty-four facilities were inspected and only eight were found to be in compliance. Below are some common findings and the appropriate corrective actions that should be taken.

Individuals not having a recycling bin: Less than 40% of the individuals had immediate access to a recycling bin. The Environmental office provides free recycling bins; please contact them to make arrangements. A person should not have to walk farther to recycle than they do to throw something in the trash.

Using recycling bins for something else: A lot of people use a recycling bin as their trash can, a storage container, or something else. Recycling funds purchase these bins and they may only be used as recycling bins.

Only recycling paper: The curbside recycling program allows all recyclables to be mixed in one bin. Plastic, aluminum, and other recyclables should be placed in the bin as well.

Recyclables in the trash can: More than half of the trash cans had recyclable material in them. Consult the recycling guide to ensure you are recycling all possible materials.
Plastic bags/film in the recycling bin: Plastic bags and films are not allowed in the recycling bins. They can damage the sorting facility equipment and should be placed in the trash or taken to a retail store that collects these types of bags.

Paper fast food bags in the trash: We don't want the burger wrappers or napkins that are contaminated with food or grease, but the clean paper bags should go in the recycling bin.

Recycling inspections will continue throughout the year. Please ensure your unit is in compliance now to avoid receiving a formal finding.

For more information please email 6CES/ or call 828-0460.