Keep Moody green: It’s not trash, it’s recyclable

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ceaira Tinsley
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs
Moody uses 150 tons of garbage a month.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average Airman creates approximately four pounds of garbage a day. With a base of approximately 5,500 personnel, we accumulate 22,000 pounds of solid waste each day. America is producing enough garbage to cover the state of Texas twice.

That was the fact that changed everything. When I started writing this story I was shocked to learn how much garbage we produce.

I was astounded when I realized that Moody's landfill is filling up fast and pretty soon because of my actions and others on base we would be searching for more landfills to dispose of our waste.

It seemed like a misuse of money, time and resources when I could just recycle and convince others to do the same. It was then that I decided that I didn't want to live in a world with garbage on every corner. Now, I choose to recycle.

Simply forgetting to recycle paper, plastic and aluminum every day was throwing away thousands of dollars and contributes to more and more things being shipped to Moody's landfill.

Disregarding the impact a single person can have on the environment and labeling used resources as trash is the wrong outlook to have.

The fact is there is no such thing as trash. Everything that we use is a valuable resource that could be used again. Everyone should equate their global footprint to saving money, saving space in landfills and preserving the environment for future generations.

"We need to get people in the mindset that everything is recyclable [on base] except the food we eat," said Elvis Lane, 23d CES pollution prevention specialist. "If we can get them to understand this, solid waste numbers would be down and our recycle numbers would go up."

The Air Force has recycling initiatives implemented to help minimize Moody's global footprint as we accumulate approximately 1,952 tons of waste yearly. For the past five fiscal years, Moody has exceeded the Air Force's recycling expectations but for 2015 the base is not on track to meet the Air Force's goal of recycling 55 percent of all solid waste materials.

Missing 2015's goal highlights the need for every Airman to do their part in 2016 because to meet fiscal year 2016's goal everyone must do their part. This means reusing items that can be reused, reducing costs and materials where possible and recycling on a daily basis.

If we don't take the time to save our planet the things we pass to future generations won't be knowledge, technology and opportunity. Instead we are going to pass along undrinkable water, polluted air, landfills on every corner and limited resources.

The benefits to recycling are endless and if we don't, Moody would lose the more than $20,000 in profits it receives from recycling, the contractors that the recycling program pays for, be in violation of the Air Force's recycling program initiative and harm the environment.

With a budget constrained Air Force, where we have to learn to do more with less, the benefits of recycling are limitless.

"If people take things that they could recycle and put it in the trash it costs us money plus it impacts the environment," said William Fowler, 23d CES, chief of environmental compliance. "It has to go to the landfill because it doesn't break down and ultimately it can wind up in the water table. But if people recycle things in the recycle bin, not only does it not cost us anything and we save money but we also get money back from those recyclable materials."

That money comes back to the base and goes to the recycle program and anything that is left over goes into Airman Programs like Morale Awareness and Recreation, Fowler added.

Everyone should take a few extra seconds and recycle everything from water bottles to office chairs. It may be hard to imagine how recycling the plastic bottle you drink from at lunch can make a difference, but it can and 100 years from now the future generations will thank you. While the average water bottle is only worth five cents; if every person on base recycles one bottle that equal $275 per day and $8,250 per month. Today's waste will be tomorrow's problem and if you still don't see the importance of recycling you are a part of the problem.