MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS -- “Our overall hope is to inform our customers about what they can be recycling and what it can do to help the base,” said Palani Paahana, commercial recycling yard, internal administrator supervisor, National Resources and Environmental Affairs Division. “Every base recycles differently, and I believe a lot of our customers are trying to recycle but don’t know how to properly recycle.”
There are several items thrown away that can actually be recycled. Any form of cardboard, plastic bottles, milk cartons and aluminum cans are a few examples.
“Almost 75 percent of the things that are thrown away can actually be recycled, and we go through it by hand and separate most of it,” said Lea Brown QRP management assistance, NREA Division.
There are times when items that could be recycled become trash. Some of these problems lead to hazards for the workers.
“We don’t have the facility to take in everything. When people don’t close their spit bottles and it becomes a [biological] hazard for the workers,” Brown said. “If there is animal waste with the recycling or diapers in the recycle that also contaminates the rest of the items. It is dangerous to our workers and we can’t recycle anything contaminated like that.”
The QRP makes money by selling the recyclable materials. The money they make pays their workers and what is needed to ship the materials. The amount of money made is equal to the amount of the material they can collect.
“We recycle about 45,000 lbs. of cardboard a week,” Brown said. “If we had people recycling cardboard correctly, we could send out almost 200,000 lbs. a week. That is about four or five truck loads. We make about $4,200 to $4,300 per truck right now.”
When Marines and sailors recycle the items go back to the companies in bulk which saves money. When the companies save money they can sell their products for less, which saves the buyers money. Also, the amount of energy that is used to make a new item can be greatly reduced by recycling. By lowering the amount of energy needed to make an item, the company making the item spends less money.
“The amount of energy that is used to make one aluminum can power a T.V. for three hours,” said Patrick Mills, QRP manager, NREA Division. “A penny saved is a dollar earned.”
“It takes one-fourth the amount of energy to make something new out of recycled materials,” Brown said.
With the hope of improving the lives of the people living on base, the QRP is looking for Marines, sailors and their families on base to recycle as much as they can to help in the future. For more information on what can or cannot be recycled call the QRP at (760)-830-5666 or (760)-830-5664