APG recycles

Installation program makes recycling more convenient

White cardboard recycle receptacles with the APG Recycling Program logo and slogan, “Proving We Care,” are placed in offices and work areas around the installation—green for cans and glass, blue for plastic. | Courtesy photo

Installation personnel can do their part to help the environment and the economy by recycling at work, through the APG Recycling Program.

Vickie Venzen, Qualified Recycling Program, or QRP, manager of the APG Garrison’s Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division, said the APG Recycling Program aims to reduce waste, conserve natural resources and prevent pollution.

“Recycling is gaining momentum, Venzen said. “It’s gaining some steam, with the needs to decrease landfills and not wanting to open new ones.”

Mandatory policy

APG implemented a mandatory recycling policy in 2016. White cardboard recycle bins with the APG Recycling Program logo and slogan, “Proving We Care,” are placed in offices and work areas throughout the installation. The bins have green lettering for cans and glass, blue lettering for plastic.

The receptacles are placed in kitchens or break rooms, near trash cans, to make recycling more convenient, Venzen said. Solid blue receptacles for cardboard and paper are also centrally located in each building. White dumpsters for bulk cardboard and paper and brown dumpsters for trash are also located outside several buildings.

Maia Kaiser, QRP project manager, said the recycle bins should not be moved from their designated locations.

Every APG organization has a recycling point of contact who coordinates with the Environmental Division to ensure that the recycling policy is being followed within their organization. A contractor is responsible for the collection of recyclable office waste.

Kaiser said individuals should contact the QRP Office to request desk-sized recycling receptacles.

“You will be responsible for bringing [the materials in the desk-sized bins] to the centralized location on your floor or building,” she said.

Room for improvement

According to Venzen, during the last waste stream analysis conducted on APG, around 30 to 40 percent of items found in the trash could have been recycled.

“That’s a number that should make people pause,” she said, “and realize there is room for improvement.”

Many items like clothing, carpet, office supplies, and playground equipment can be made with recycled materials, Venzen said, adding that making items with recycled material helps save natural resources.

“We are trying to make recycling as easy as possible,” she said. “We are trying to make it part of our culture. It’s a team effort.”

QRP

The Qualified Recycling Program, or QRP, is a more specific, defined program, Venzen said. With the QRP, certain “industrial recyclables,” used on the installation like brass and scrap metal, can be sold. These funds are used for on-post projects, programs like Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and promote initiatives like Pollution Prevention Week in September.

“Most of the money, right now, predominately comes from the brass sales as well as the scrap metal sales,” she said. “There isn’t any money associated with how we are currently processing the domestic recyclables versus the industrial recyclables, but we working, actually, very actively towards bringing those in, under the QRP, to be able to sell those.”

Venzen said personnel with QRP-eligible scrap metal or range residue should contact the QRP Office to set up an appointment.

New recycling center

A new recycling center is coming to APG. The center, which is slated to open in FY 19 or FY 20, will centralize the installation’s recycling efforts, and will be a great outreach tool, Venzen said.

“To have an actual location where you can go and see it [the material] being processed, and see the program, [it will be] a win-win,” she said.

Recycling tips

QRP tips for successful recycling:

  • Rinse off food residue and empty all bottles and cans.
  • Breakdown and flatten all cardboard boxes.
  • Bag all shredded paper.
  • Contact the QRP office for information about recycling ink cartridges, batteries and scrap metal.
  • Do not place containers with hazardous materials in the recycling bins.

According to Venzen, personnel are not allowed to bring recyclables from home to place in the installation’s recycle bins.

“When that’s done on an Army installation, it’s considered dumping,” she said. “And it’s illegal.”

It is also illegal for personnel to take items out of government-owned trash bins, to recycle these items off post.

For more information, call the QRP Office at 410-306-2260/2199 or email vickie.a.venzen.civ@mail.mil or maia.n.kaiser.civ@mail.mil.

 

By Rachel Ponder, APG News