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Material Diversion Center presented with award from White house

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg's Material Diversion Center was presented with the Closing the Circle Award by the Office of Federal Environmental executive in Washington D.C., Tuesday. 

The center was selected out of a field of 80 for its ability to save money and protect the environment by recycling and reusing lumber, furniture, tools, concrete and many other resources.

"Our job is to assess things that people are going to get rid of and try to figure out if there are practical ways reuse them," said Patrick Maloy, a 30th CES Material Diversion Center solid waste/recycling manager.

The centers efforts have not only won several awards but have made Vandenberg more efficient and environmentally friendly.

"The DoD wants every base to operate with a 50 percent diversion rate," Mr. Maloy said. "Vandenberg is currently running at 90 percent."

In the past year the center has been involved with several projects: the redistribution of concrete, the disposal of harmful household cleaning agents and many more. However its biggest endeavor of the year would be the reuse of an unused railroad spur.

An unused 10-mile railroad spur built in 1941 ran through the center of Vandenberg. A commercial railroad, Southern Pacific, currently operates around the perimeter of the base in non-secure areas. As configured, the commercial track was connected to the abandoned railroad spur. To avoid rail cars entering secure areas within the base boundary, this portion of unused rail required removal. Instead of hiring a demolition contractor and disposing of the track and ties in the landfill, 30 CES/CEV pursued reuse options. VAFB partnered with the US Border Patrol and the California National Guard and implemented a plan to remove and reuse the track to build vehicle barriers on the border with Mexico in support of Homeland Security. Additionally, a non-profit organization was contracted to remove the ties at no cost to the Air Force. The non-profit was able to use proceeds generated from the sale of reusable materials to construct a 17-mile Truckee-Virginia City railroad track as part of a historical preservation program. The reuse of 745 tons of rail and 1,280 tons of ties resulted in: security enhancement for Vandenberg, improved border security, preservation of railroad history for future generations, and a demolition cost avoidance of $823,000, Mr. Maloy said.

Working to get rid of waste is one thing, but working to find a way to reuse that waste and reintroduce it to a working environment is a truly thankless job that Vandenberg's Material Diversion team excels. The hard work this year has been recognized by the OFEE.

Vandenberg truly exemplifies the Federal workforce's commitment to meeting the
President's directive to be good stewards of our nation's precious natural resources, the OFEE said.