Fort Leonard Wood celebrates America Recycles Day 2022 | Article





Environmental Protection Assistant Robert Schultz, with Fort Leonard Wood’s Directorate of Public Works, teaches students from the Waynesville Sixth Grade Center about the importance of reuse during an America Recycles Day event held Tuesday at the Fort Leonard Wood Recycling Center.
(Photo Credit: Photo by Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)

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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The Fort Leonard Wood Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division helped the installation celebrate America Recycles Day 2022 with an e-waste event held Tuesday at the Recycling Center. Tuesday also marked the 25th anniversary of the annual observance, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

E-waste, short for electronic waste, includes appliances such as computers, televisions and other common electronic products found to be no longer useful.

The event’s primary mission was to bring awareness to the benefits of recycling, both fiscally and environmentally, and get the population on Fort Leonard Wood excited about recycling, said Robert Schultz, an environmental protection assistant with the Environmental Division, and one of the event organizers.

“Recycling items removes them from the waste system, which is a benefit for everyone,” Schultz said. “The proceeds from the program are put back into the community, so it has an environmental and a fiscal benefit.”

This event was one of two e-waste events the recycling program hosts each year — the other is held on or around Earth Day in April.

Customers attending the event had the chance to drop off regular recyclables as well as any e-waste they needed to dispose of.

One of those customers was J.D. Bales, chief of DPW’s Engineering Design Branch, who stopped by to drop off an unwanted television. Designated recycling events make disposing of unwanted electronics convenient, he said.

“I like to be environmentally conscious as much as I can, so whenever there’s something like this available, I like to take advantage,” Bales said.

In addition to the recycling event, students from the Waynesville Sixth Grade Center, who have chosen recycling as an educational focus, were given the opportunity to tour the Recycling Center and learn about how recyclable materials are processed after being dropped off at the facility.

Instilling knowledge of recycling at a young age is important, Schultz said.

“We find it is best to start at a young age, because by developing these habits young, it becomes a rote type of process,” he said. “When you’re taking an item that you otherwise would just conveniently throw in the trash and put it in a place to be recycled or reused, it’s a very deliberate act.”

At the end of the tour, the students created environmentally friendly birdfeeders from recycled plastic bottles to form a greater understanding of reuse.

“Ultimately, before recycling, we want to reduce the amount of material that we’re using,” Schultz said. “We want to reuse as much of the material as possible, and then recycle.”

Schultz said he hopes those who participated understand the long-term benefits of recycling and how their actions benefit the community.

“The one thing I want people to take away from this event, is that not only are they making a better footprint for the future by recycling, but they’re also directly responsible for some of the benefits that we have on Fort Leonard Wood,” he said. “It is our hope that if we continue this pattern that we can then continue to provide more to the community.”

The event was a success said Environmental Compliance Branch Chief Howard French.

“We recycled over 3,000 pounds of electronic waste, which otherwise would have gone to a landfill,” he said. “This success is due to those who took the time and effort to recycle.”

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