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Carl Atchley, a hazardous material identifier with the Combat Center's Hazardous Material Management Branch, skims oil off the top of anti-freeze before it is re-processed Tuesday at the branch's compound. The branch saved almost $1 million in taxpayer money last year.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Recycling HAZMAT the Combat Center way

2 Jul 2010 | Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

The Combat Center’s Hazardous Waste Management Branch saved almost $1 million in taxpayer money last year.

Thanks to the branch’s work ethic, it has become an outstanding example of HAZMAT recycling and monetary saving, said Patrick Mills, the branch manager.

Mills added the efforts here are as a team, with input and critiques of every process being looked at by all 11 members, not just himself.

“Our impact here is profound,” said the New York City native. “We are of very few installations in the [Department of Defense] or Marine Corps that does what we do [HAZMAT recycling].”

The installation doesn’t just benefit financially. Training is made easier because of the availability of resources, said Carl Atchley, a HAZMAT identifier, who is from Bakersfield, Calif.

“Anti-freeze costs about $400 a drum, and we give it free to the units,” Atchley said. “I enjoy helping Marines and keeping them doing what they need to do – focusing on training.”

The branch does much more than recycle anti-freeze however. They handle many more projects, leaving virtually nothing left to the landfill, said Tim Christian, another HAZMAT identifier.

Anti-freeze, the branch’s biggest “money maker,” comes from nearly all vehicles which have maintenance performed on them aboard the installation. The center re-processes and stocks it for future use.

The branch handles a very wide variety of materials – everything from lithium batteries, antifreeze, plastics, oil filters, paint cans, televisions and computer screens, said Christian from Monteo, N.C.

“We’re here to reduce the base’s carbon footprint, but also the cost of running the base,” Christian said. “Something we’re all very proud of is the [Re-Utilization] Program. We’ll sometimes get [HAZMAT], and it’s not used at all or only partially used. We stock these things, and they’re available free to any units on base.

Christian, who like the rest of the team was highly praised by their boss, Mills, said the branch wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the new leadership.

“In the three years we’ve had Mr. Mills here, we’ve made leaps and bounds forward,” Christian said. “He’s probably the best boss I’ve had.”

For more information on handling hazardous materials or the Re-Utilization program, call 830-5403.

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