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Air Force launches tool kit aimed at pollution prevention

(U.S Air Force graphic/Sylvia Saab) (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Satran)

(U.S Air Force graphic/Sylvia Saab) (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Satran)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force launched a new tool kit March 21 to promote pollution prevention across the service.

As part of the planned Air Force Earth Day 2012 commemoration, the tool kit provides new, customizable products for use at installations Air Force-wide in creating local Earth Day campaigns.

Although the initial launch was timed to coincide with the annual Earth Day, commemorated by the Air Force on April 20 this year, the tool kit is intended for use year-round, said Kevin Gabos, a pollution prevention subject matter expert with the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment and the lead in the effort to create the tool kit.

"The tool kit provides outreach materials to help installations promote (pollution prevention) on a continuing basis as they move toward meeting Air Force and Department of Defense strategic sustainability performance goals of eliminating or reducing pollution before it becomes waste," Gabos said. "It includes color logos, magnet designs, several formats for banners, three poster designs and two video public service announcements appropriate for use any time."

"Conserve today, secure tomorrow" is the theme of the outreach campaign, developed by AFCEE to support an Air Force initiative to reinvigorate pollution prevention efforts worldwide.

Pollution prevention is reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques and re-using materials rather than adding them to the waste stream. The Air Force-wide pollution prevention campaign is an ongoing initiative to educate Air Force members, including active-duty members, civilian employees, contractors and family members on the importance of pollution prevention on their installations and encourage their personal involvement, according to officials.

Executive Order 13514 and the Department of Defense Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan establish the pollution prevention program framework for the Air Force. In addition to guidance, these documents set a series of goals for military services to meet in key areas like greenhouse gas management and reduction, reducing of non-hazardous waste generation, reducing hazardous material usage and improving water resources management. Specific goals in the sustainability performance plan include, among others, diverting 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste and 60 percent of construction and demolition debris from the waste stream by fiscal 2015.

Air Force pollution prevention policy requires installations to minimize the adverse impacts on air, water and land from all aspects of the Air Force mission through implementation of an Environmental Management System, officials said. Air Force EMS is the framework used to identify, prioritize and manage the aspects of daily operations that generate waste and pollution.

A relatively new area of focus has been reusing or recycling construction material and debris on installations. When Fairchild AFB, Wash., was designing a new $43 million runway recently, the plan included recycling 60,000 tons of concrete and about 20,000 tons of asphalt from the existing runway. This reuse saved economic and material resources.

"It's important to reduce the amount of waste that is generated, often by finding, promoting and sharing best practices within the Air Force community to eliminate pollution sources at the outset," Gabos said. "Green procurement and processes will help the Air Force achieve our reduction goals and preserve resources -- both materials and economic resources. It is up to each of us to participate to achieve these goals."

Additional information on the pollution prevention campaign and the tool kit can be found on the AFCEE website at http://www.afcee.af.mil.