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Recycling benefits base, keeps dollars close to home

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- In a time of tight budgets and limited resources, the nation has turned its attention to finding ways to do more with less. With climate changes and the specter of global warming, the "throwaway" mentality is being replaced with a mindset to reduce, re-use and recycle. Vandenberg has been at the forefront of waste reduction and recycling and currently holds one of the highest waste diversion rates in the Air Force.

By recycling and reusing materials, Vandenberg follows the chain of command when it comes to managing waste responsibly. That chain starts with numerous federal, state, county, and Air Force laws and regulations requiring installations to reduce, reuse and recycle materials rather than dispose of them.

"A waste is just a resource that is in the wrong place," said Pat Maloy, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron's solid waste program manager.

Since the implementation of the Materials Diversion Center, a central clearing house for materials that are otherwise slated for disposal, the base has reused millions of dollars worth of supplies, equipment and furniture. It has also generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from recycling materials -- money that is put right back into the base operations.

Recently, the MDC diverted 242 radar deflecting field netting units to the Department of Defense's depot in Anniston, Ala., for reuse within active military units in Iraq and Afghanistan. The radar deflecting field netting units generated by security forces were scheduled for demilitarization and disposal. With the help of MDC personnel, security forces transported all the materials to the MDC for reuse rather than disposal. This coordinated effort paved the way for frontline troops to receive a much needed commodity, while saving the Air Force over $160,000 in new purchases.

All people who live and work on Vandenberg play a key role in good environmental and resource stewardship. Reducing waste, and reusing and recycling materials, secures vital resources for current and future uses.

For more information on the waste reduction and recycling programs on Vandenberg, call Mr. Maloy at 605-0544.