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Team Pete strives to increase recycling

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Pete is going green! You may think this is nothing new, but Airmen should take note of some changes, including the implementation of composting, that are taking place to hopefully decrease our carbon footprint.

Some people may remember a time when recyclables were required to be separated into aluminum, glass, plastic, paper, etc. before being recycled. This changed to a system called single-streaming, where all recyclables are co-mingled and separated by machines when they reach their final destination.

Phil Chase, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron program manager, said this has caused some issues for recycling paper from Peterson. Due to the often classified nature of work here, paper is required to either be shredded or pulverized, depending on the level of classification.

Because all recyclables are combined now and separated mechanically, the shredded and pulverized paper wreaks havoc and clogs up the machines. Chase said due to those mechanical difficulties, recycling companies turn away containers with ANY shredded or pulverized paper and send the ENTIRE container to the landfill.

Whole paper, newspapers or cardboard can still be recycled, but to combat the issue, Peterson is now sending shredded and pulverized paper to the landfill.

"I would rather take the paper out and put it in the landfill," Chase explained. "Even though we're not recycling it, we're still recycling the majority of the materials."
By getting more items to actually be recycled, Team Pete gets a little revenue back to put into the Qualified Recycling Program. This funding is used for other projects around base for the Airmen.

"[We] can do pollution prevention projects. We can do energy projects. We can do occupational health projects," Chase stated. "It eventually comes back to the base and the Airmen can see the benefits."

Using some of those funds, Chase is working on implementing a bio-recycling program around base that is expected to be fully operational by the end of July.

"The Aragon Dining Hall, the [Peterson] Club, and the golf course all have installed what we call waste-reduction devices," he said. "The food products that used to go into a garbage disposal now are captured by this basket, which we put into plastic bags. Those will be going to a compost pile."

Chase explained the benefits - the most obvious is all food waste that used to go into the waste water will now be recycled. With the waste-reduction devices, 98 percent of all food waste can be collected and composted. Water consumption will also be reduced by 90 percent because the garbage disposal won't need to clear every single dish. The amount of organic matter going into the water will also be reduced, he added.

So what can Airmen do to help? Recycle! Take a few minutes to recycle your material and use the bins provided around base. Every little bit helps - it adds up fast.
The more items recycled, the more funds are put back into the QRP and the more funds that can be used to implement further green programs, such as starting to recycle all Peterson's paper again.

Peterson can no longer recycle electronics, so Airmen need to recycle their electronics on their own.
All material in the recycle yard is government property - therefore it is illegal to remove material.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui