NEWS | June 26, 2013

Open for business: How recycling kept the pool afloat

By Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Last year the Qualified Recycling Program at Joint Base Charleston recycled more than 925,000 pounds of metal, as well as tons of other materials, preserving natural resources and landfill space, and saving the base more than $146,000 in 2012 for JB Charleston, S.C.

Proceeds from the money accrued were put back into JB Charleston, and used on a variety of programs including funding to open the JB Charleston - Air Base pool, Weapons Station pool, and the beach at Short Stay.

The QRP is a section of the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron. Alan Moyer, Pollution Prevention/Solid Waste Management specialist, said QRP's mission is to divert as much material as economically feasible from landfill disposal, so that it can be processed and manufactured into new reusable products. This saves energy, decreases pollution and ultimately lessens the community's dependence on new raw material.

According to Air Force instruction, the proceeds from the sale of recyclable material shall be used to reimburse installation-level costs incurred in operation of the recycling program, and after reimbursement of the cost incurred by the installation to operate the recycling program.

"Installation Commanders may use up to 50 percent of the remaining sale proceeds for pollution abatement, energy conservation and occupational safety and health activities," said Moyer. "However, any sale proceeds remaining may be transferred to installation morale or welfare activities."

The QRP recyclables consist of scrap metal, used oil (from aircraft and motor vehicles), used printer cartridges, and other recyclable items.

"The Air Force requires a minimum of 50 percent of all solid waste to be recycled," said Moyer. "By using the QRP, we can keep track of our solid waste diversion, maintain an Air Force standard, but most importantly, create funds to put back into Team Charleston."

The funds generated by the recycling program would become invaluable as sequestration-related reductions were triggered earlier this year.

"We were put in a position with mounting expenses and shrinking funds to meet the costs of our community programs," said Maj. Jane Callender, 628th Force Support Squadron operations officer. "Because of this, we've had to make a number of reductions and adjustments to what we can provide."

Due to growing budget deficits, it seemed that leadership would be forced to close the JB Charleston - Air Base pool, Weapons Station pool, and the beach at Short Stay, with summer approaching.

"Our military community relies on the base pools in the summertime; they are near base housing and are a relief from the heat," said Callender.

Thanks to the recycling program $146,000 was distributed to the 628 FSS to cover costs to hire lifeguards.

"Thanks to the efforts of all Airmen, Sailors and our civilians recycling on the installation, we can provide a valued program to our families," said Callender. "It's a small reminder that doing the right thing always pays off."