Recycle? If not you, then who?

  • Published
  • By Brion Ockenfels, a.k.a. "Recycloman"
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Recycling is one of the most important individual efforts we can make towards protecting our environment. Recycling conserves resources, reduces waste, prevents pollution and creates jobs.
   Over the past two decades, recycling has become a vital part of our nation's conservation ethic and government agencies are leading the way by developing comprehensive plans to reduce the amount of solid waste discarded in landfills.
   Collectively we've done well, but we can do better.
   Kicking off a new campaign on America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, recommit to recycling. Let's beat the Environmental Protection Agency's challenge for all Americans to boost national recycling rates from 32 to 35 percent in 2008.
   The agency and the National Recycling Coalition is asking Americans to adopt smart environmental practices, make smart environmental purchases, reuse products, and recycle at least one pound of their household waste a day.
   We are making progress. Just 20 years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States. Today, there are more than 10,000 across the nation.
   Recycling is making a difference at Tinker Air Force Base, too. Revenue generated from the sales of recyclable commodities like corrugated cardboard and white paper help fund the base recycling program.
   Everyone who lives and works on base is required to participate in the base recycling program.
   Recyclewoman and I are asking everyone to do their best to conserve our natural resources for future generations and reduce rising disposal costs by recycling whenever possible at home and at work.
   When we think about it, are we really doing our best?
   Look down the street in any community on trash pick-up day, wouldn't it be great to see nearly all the recycle bins out and full, ready for pick-up?
   At work, let's get those cans, cardboard and white paper in the recycling bins rather than in a trash can.
   "But it takes too much time and effort!"
   Heard this excuse before?
   Sure, we're all busier then ever. But the base recycling center and Military Family Housing have partnered to make recycling as effortless as possible.
   By providing residential recycling collection bins, placing your bin next to the trash receptacle makes it convenient and saves time.
   Residents and employees should call the Base Recycling Center at 739-3610 or 739-5377 for recycling information.
   Here's a good one - some people think recycled items go into the landfill anyway.
   The truth is that happens only if you or I put non-recyclable items in the recycling bins, thereby contaminating the recycling waste stream. Take personal responsibility and learn what is or isn't recyclable in your area.
   Consider this -- if you're not recycling, your recyclables are going into the landfill.
   Recycling is a great environmental success story of the late 20th century and the Department of Defense continues to be one the nation's leaders. Recycling, including composting diverts millions of tons of material away from local landfills.
   You can also make a difference by purchasing post consumer products. This makes recycling economically feasible, while creating the economic benefits that fuel recycling innovation and infrastructure.
   In fact, recycling is a billion dollar industry employing thousands. That's billion with a "B."
   Now that's making a difference and doing the right thing. The challenges we face are achievable. Recycling is everybody's responsibility. It really is one of the best ways to prevent pollution.
   Everyone makes a difference; everyone has an opportunity to lessen the personal impact they make on the environment.
   Exercise your environmental muscle on America Recycles Day and rededicate yourself to recycling. Make Tinker a community where 100 percent of the work force and residents take every opportunity to recycle everyday.
   Recycle? If not you, then who?
   Making it easy to recycle at Tinker
   If you have the right attitude, you can take care of the planet for the future of your great-great grandchildren.
   Tinker's Recycling Center is located north of the Gott Gate and the drop-off is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Materials accepted include glass, plastics Nos. 1 and 2, aluminum beverage cans, tin cans, cardboard, newspaper and computer paper.
   For white paper pick-up in work centers, the recycling center staff will pick it up for you. To participate in white paper recycling or to schedule a pick-up, call 739-3610 or 739-5377.
   For base residents, used motor oil, antifreeze, filters, paints, pesticides, fertilizers and other household hazardous waste items can be turned into Oklahoma City's Household Hazardous Waste Collection site located at 3738 SW 15th Street. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays.
   The center is free to Oklahoma City residents. If you live on Tinker, an active duty military identification card in lieu of an Oklahoma City water bill will allow you to use the service. For more information, call 682-7038 or log on to www.okc.gov.
   The Oklahoma City facility also takes e-waste, broken or unwanted computer screens, keyboards, CPU's and printers. The facility does not accept tires, refrigerators, biomedical and radioactive or commercial waste.