Installation-wide recycling program becomes operational

Installation-wide recycling program becomes operational

Not so on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson anymore. The Qualified Recycling Program is now operational, said Jeff Raun, who coordinates the program through the 673d Civil Engineer Group environmental office.

Office paper and cardboard are on the recycling list for now, although Raun hopes to see the program expand later this winter to include other items.

The installation can collect and sell the recyclables and keep the money to maintain the program; extra proceeds go to conservation and pollution-prevention programs.

“Contaminated recyclables can end up in the landfill,” Raun said. In a worst-case scenario, throwing a newspaper or filter full of coffee grounds into a recycling bin could undo everyone’s efforts to recycle the paper.

The curbside recycling programs in Anchorage and Eagle River, or in JBER housing areas, allow for commingled recyclables - toss the soda can in with the newspapers and plastic bottles; it’s fine.

But those items are baled and shipped to the Lower 48, and communities pay for the service.

“In Alaska, there’s no market for mingled recyclables,” Raun said. We’re required to separate items. By separating at the point of generation, we can bale it and sell it directly, and it commands a higher price. It allows the program to be cost-effective.”

Raun is trying to make the process as painless as possible for those working on JBER, with 75 offices currently on a pickup route for paper. If you need a recycling bin or need to ask about getting on the pickup route, call the QRP office at 552-7753.

Linda Hunter, a contracting officer with the 3d Contracting Squadron, said she takes a small pile of paper to the shredder once or twice a week.

By the end of the week, there are two or three large black garbage bags of shredded paper just on the floor she works on. Since the office stopped a recycling contract with a local vendor, those bags have been going to the trash - but now they will be recycled.
“It’s less in the landfill,” she said. “It will lower our costs for garbage disposal, and if they’re picking it up, it’s much more convenient. I’m excited. We’ve missed having this the last few years.”

Tech. Sgt. Vickey Whaley of the 673d Equal Opportunity office was also pleased to hear about the kickoff of the QRP.

“It makes me feel good to know that the EO office will be doing our small part to enhance life and resources here on JBER,” Whaley said.

There will soon be 15 to 20 trailers around JBER for cardboard; any boxes that can’t be reused - like for moving - can be broken down and dropped off.
This winter they hope to have a center operational for recycling cans, newspaper, and No. 1 and No. 2 plastics.

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