Fighting the War on Waste requires "recycling mindset"

  • Published
  • By Michael Pettibon
  • 82nd Civil Engineering Squadron/DS2
Sheppard is in a war, a war it fully expects to win - the war on waste. To achieve ultimate victory, the base must continue its recycling program and awareness campaign to bring recycling to the forefront of everyone's thinking. The assault on paper, cardboard, newspapers, magazines, plastics, aluminum cans, scrap metal, and likewise, continues on Team Sheppard. The military, family members and retirees can put the squeeze on waste and turn Sheppard's recycling program into a model for the rest of the Air Force.
Over the past several years, the 82nd Civil Engineering Squadron has been putting the needed resources and organization into place so the base's recycling program can continue to be at full force. A vital component of both the resources and the organization is the base's ever-growing cadre of unit recycling monitors, who currently oversee recycling efforts base wide. 

The Recycling/Solid Waste Working Group has established an outstanding network of primary and alternate recycling monitors, who assist with recycling issues, distribute program information, procure recycling equipment, and request special pick-ups, as required, at the various units, squadrons and groups throughout the base.

Base leadership has given its full support to an aggressive recycling program, making it a top priority, which includes the quarterly recycling incentive program, where groups compete against each other to determine what units on base, per capita, are recycling the most products. The winning squadron is recognized each quarter at the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Council where their group receives a lucrative incentive check from the 82nd Training Wing.

Recycling is important for what it represents - it shows we care about something more than our own immediate convenience. It shows we're good stewards of the environment, good neighbors to the community and that we care about future generations. Sheppard is a great place to stress recycling and environmental awareness because of the large number of students from all branches of the Armed Forces passing through Sheppard's gates. They can develop an attitude of good stewardship, and take it on to their next assignment.

To continue on this endeavor and to foster awareness, all base members need to remember the three R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It's up to each individual Sheppard member to make a conscientious effort to adhere to the spirit of these three words.

Learning more about how to make a positive contribution to the base's recycling efforts is as easy as following the "recycling chain-of-command". If you have a recycling request, question, or suggestion, try to work it first through your facility monitor. If that doesn't satisfy you, contact your squadron monitor, then your group unit environmental coordinator.

The time has come for everyone to have a "recycling mindset," an attitude that's pervasive throughout the Sheppard community, at the workplace and at home. Recycling should no longer be considered a personal decision or a matter of choice. It's something that's expected of each of us. Recycling is how we do business - it should be just as much a part of the duty day as reveille and retreat.