- What is it?
Recycling is the process of removing items, such as cans, newspapers and plastic bottles out of the trash stream and processing them for reuse as new products. Collecting and reusing these items reduces impacts on the environment, and helps sustain Army readiness.
Recycling is a major part in the Army’s holistic strategy (including Army Sustainability and Net Zero) to improve energy, water and solid waste management and increase Army resiliency. This approach is a force multiplier. It enables the Army’s stewardship of available resources, manages costs and provides Soldiers, Families and Civilians with a sustainable future.
In addition to enhancing Army readiness, recycling:
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills or incinerators
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
- What has the Army done?
AR 420-1, Army Facilities Management, requires Army installations to adopt Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) principles. These principles use pollution prevention measures, such as recycling, to minimize waste generation. ISWM assesses the processes generating the waste and determines which waste streams can be recycled. AR 200-1 also requires installations to operate a Qualified Recycling Program (QRP) to recycle items such as high-quality paper and paper products; newspaper; cardboard; plastic; metal cans; glass; used oil (except when hazardous waste); batteries; tires, ferrous and non-ferrous scrap and firing range expended brass and mixed metals (certain limitations). The helps Army installations with their recycling programs using P2 principles, including recycling.
Recycling efforts are measured in terms of waste stream diversion. The Army diverted 304,000 tons of solid waste (SW) from landfills and 957,000 tons of construction and demolition (C&D) debris in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, which equates to a diversion rate of 43% and 75%, respectively and a savings of $36.9 million. This savings funds military operations and quality of life improvements for Soldiers and Families.
- What does the Army have planned?
USAEC conducts Pollution Prevention Opportunity Assessments (PPOAs) at Army installations to aid in planning and implementation of installation P2 programs that include recycling. The opportunity assessment systematically evaluates processes and operations, so installations can focus on diverting waste streams with the highest volume, disposal costs or hazard, and realize the most significant benefits.
- Why is this important?
Recycling programs are essential in reducing the amount of waste the Army generates. Recycling efforts turn waste that otherwise would be disposed of in landfills or burned in incinerators into valuable resources. These resources result in financial, environmental and social benefits. Cost avoidance frees up funding for other Army programs benefiting Army readiness. Protection of natural resources allows for continued use of Army lands for mission accomplishment and makes them sustainable, today and into the future. In addition, being good environmental stewards promotes a positive Army relationship with local communities.
- Read more about it:
- AR 200-1: Environmental Protection and Enhancement
- AR 420-1; Army Facilities Management
- AR 525-30: Army Strategic Readiness
- Army Directive 2014-02 (Net Zero Installations Policy)
- EO 13693 Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade
- Army Energy Security & Sustainability (ES2) Strategy 2015
- Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy 2009
- Army Sustainability Report 2016
- Army Net Zero Stand-To!
- Army Net Zero Website
- Army Net Zero Progress Report