NEW ORLEANS --
With the excitement of switching into seasonal desert-pattern uniforms from woodland utilities, the Marines at the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans did not completely abandon the color green.
Just as the daylight saving time sets into place, a new recycling initiative is being introduced to the 1,200 Marine and civilian personnel that man the nearly two-year old facility.
“This building we moved into is very energy efficient: low-flush toilets, energy-efficient rooftops, and other environmentally-sound features,” said Lt. Col. Brian J. Hardy, the commanding officer of Headquarters Battalion, Marine Forces Reserve. “One thing it was lacking was a recycling program, so we just decided it was the right thing to do.”
The 411,000-square-foot building did not have a recycling program in place since its opening. Even though more than190 blue recycling bins have been placed in approximately 374 offices in the building, there was no effort encouraging to recycle.
“The recyclables were being taken out like just like regular trash- put in the same bins and put in the same trash containers,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jeremy G. Sellers, the hazmat manager for the MARFORRES facilities. “There was no directive established instructing otherwise.”
According to the MARFORRES Environmental Compliance and Protection Standard Operating Procedure, the recycling program should be in place if it is deemed economically feasible to meet the federal requirement.
Sellers said since there is only one recycling facility in the Orleans Parish, where MARCORSPTFAC is located, it was difficult to enable this program.
With the demand by the workforce for the program by the personnel, Hardy worked with the staff and current janitorial contractor to come up with a recycling program with no additional cost to MARFORRES.
Starting in late March, each office has been provided with blue recycling liners that can be placed into the recycling bins to ensure the proper handling of reusable materials like paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, tin and steel cans. When full, the bags can be placed along with other trash bags in bins positioned throughout the building at the close of business hours. The contracting personnel responsible for these bins than can separate the waste when taken out to trash containers.
“What this does is cut all of the solid waste disposal per day so the trash containers fill up slower,” said Sellers. “We can identify when they are full and then reduce the trash collections per week.”
In the long-term, Hardy said MARFORRES is looking into recycling other material used onsite, such as print cartridges, wooden-pallets and hazardous material.
He also said that there is a plan to implement the program in the family housing for the service members of MARFORRES, located aboard Naval Air Station- Joint Reserve Base New Orleans and in the Federal City in Algiers, La.
“We need to be good stewards of our resources,” said Hardy. “In the current budgetary environment, it’s the right thing to do. Rather than putting that trash in the landfill, if there’s any value we can get out of the recyclables, we ought to do that.“