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MDC's multifaceted service assists Vandenberg, local community

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Base employees of the Qualified Recycling Program and the Material Diversion Center here organize discarded furniture at Building 11510 here Tuesday, April 27, 2010. The MDC takes discarded materials from the base and reissues the items to the surrounding community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Base employees of the Qualified Recycling Program and the Material Diversion Center here organize discarded furniture at Building 11510 here Tuesday, April 27, 2010. The MDC takes discarded materials from the base and reissues the items to the surrounding community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- What happens to discarded base furniture including desks, chairs, file cabinets, lockers and tables when they are no longer needed or wanted at Vandenberg facilities?

The answer can be found at the Vandenberg Material Diversion Center (Building 11510).

Rather than scrapping these government assets or disposing of them in Vandenberg's landfill, these salvageable items are taken to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office who will issue them to the MDC if they determine them to be in usable condition.

"Our mission is to increase waste diversion on base," said Mr. Adam Bray, the MDC logistics manager. "At the same time, we reissue material to people in need. This avoids disposal costs and contributes to cost avoidance, which saves Vandenberg money in the end."

Other than furniture, the center also stores lumber, tools, office supplies and many other resources at its warehouse.

In 2008, the MDC was presented with the Closing the Circle Award by the Office of Federal Environmental Executive in Washington D.C. for its ability to save money and protect the environment.

"Our goal is to identify more opportunities for the Qualified Recycling Program and to continue reissuing materials to Vandenberg and the surrounding communities," said Mr. Jeff Plymate, the MDC operations manager. "This is a pioneer program and it has been very successful. Our goal is to build and improve on the program."

The Vandenberg QRP is a program designed to promote recycling and research new technology and avenues to reduce the base's solid waste. Leading the way, Vandenberg stood up a material division center in 2006 and it remains the only center of its kind in the Air Force today.

"The QRP is a unique operation," said Mr. Dayle Russell, a 30th Space Wing QRP manager. "Because of its uniqueness, we have to rewrite our procedures and change our operations on a daily basis to overcome any obstacle that may arise."

Last year, the MDC processed more than 264,000 pounds of material from the base and reissued the material at no monetary cost to military personnel, dependents, civilians, contractors and off-base organizations.

Some of the off-base organizations that have benefitted from the MDC include, but are not limited to, the United States Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Goodwill Industries International Inc., Habitat for Humanity, California Department of Transportation and local police departments, churches, libraries and schools.

"The support we have received from the (Vandenberg) Material Diversion Center has made our school possible," said Mr. Kenneth Parker, the Orcutt Academy High School associate superintendent. "I am quite sure that the chances of us even being in existence, had we not had access to furniture from MDC, would be in question."

The important thing for people to know is the MDC is here to help and assist people in any way we can, said Mr. Plymate.

For more information about the MDC, call 605-0102. All military, dependents, civilians and contractors are encouraged to use the MDC's free service.