Trainees dump paper products into a bin for shredding, Nov. 15, during America Recycles Day at the post recycling center. (Photo by Robert Timmons)

Jackson raises recycling awareness

By Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

Students collected recyclable materials, and members of the Fort Jackson community dropped off items at the Recycling Center on post Nov. 15 to honor a day where the nation pauses to reflect on the impacts of reusing materials.

Fort Jackson’s Child, Youth Services invited parents to bring in recyclable materials for the children to use for their creations in the classroom as part of America Recycles Day.

Community members were also able to bring paper, wooden pallets, plastic, aluminum, cardboard, scrap metal, glass, magazines and cooking oil/grease. They were also able to bring in additional items for collection such as tires, fire extinguishers, paint and other chemicals and batteries. Paper shredding was also available.

Lisa Mcknight, hazardous waste manager with the Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division, said it was important for the post to be a part of America Recycles Day as it “raises awareness to diversion from landfills. Everything we throw into trash cans goes into landfills.”

“At Fort Jackson we take pride in diversion” and keeping things away from landfills, she said.

The post also makes money on commodities, as well. The paper, cardboard, pallets and other stuff that comes in are money that goes to the qualified recycling program for Soldiers on Fort Jackson. That Defense Logistics Agency program is where qualified recyclables are sold, and the proceeds are deposited into the installation’s QRP account to directly benefit Soldiers.

“So, it is very important that everybody on post participates,” Mcknight added.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, America Recycles Day, “recognizes the importance and impact of recycling, which has contributed to American prosperity and the protection of our environment.”

The EPA indicates the recycling rate has increased from less than 7% in 1960 to the current rate of 32%. An EPA study found that recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages.

Not only can recycling help save resources and create jobs, but it also saves energy.

The EPA website states: “The materials that you recycle are used to create the products you buy. This means less virgin material needs to be mined or harvested, processed, manufactured, and transported - all of which consumes energy.”

Fort Jackson would receive four fire extinguishers, three quarts of oil, 24 cans of paint, 17 used light bulbs, 11 used batteries, and roughly 13,000 lbs. of shredded paper.

(Editor’s note: Information for this article was found at the EPA website