SEATTLE (NNS) -- During Seafair Fleet Week 2007, visitors to Navy ships Aug. 3-5 were introduced to environmental initiatives at static displays by the Chief of Naval Operations, Environmental Readiness Division on pier 91 and aboard USS Cleveland (LPD 7).
One purpose of the displays was to introduce the public to the Navy's plastic waste processing program, designed to help ships protect the environment. Visitors are often unaware of the Navy's environmental programs until they visit the static displays.
The requirement of "zero plastic waste discharge" from ships takes a genuine commitment from the crew to make it a reality. Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/SS) Glenn Nixon says USS Cleveland is serious about their part.
"We have a very strict trash separation policy here," said Nixon. "If someone mistakenly throws something in the wrong garbage can, we make them dig it out and put it in the right can in order to correctly process it later."
Once the trash is compiled, a plastics waste processor (PWP) aboard Cleveland compresses and melts the plastic into dense, sanitary disks that are suitable for long-term storage. Each disk results in a plastic volume reduction of 30 to 1, significantly lowering disposal costs when they are offloaded for proper disposal ashore.
"Just imagine your house and how much plastic you throw away at home," said Ensign Ann Linkogle, Cleveland food service officer. "We have 400 people on the ship and double that number with Marines on board. We can't throw plastic in the ocean and if we did, we wouldn't have an ocean to float in."
Many visitors are surprised when they learn that the Navy is being proactive in protecting the environment by eliminating plastic waste discharge at sea.
"It's really good of them," said Daniel Keuerleber, Seafair visitor. "I didn't know the Navy did that."
Nixon believes plastic waste processing is important for the Navy now and for the future.
"Plastic has no place in the ocean," said Nixon. "I see dolphins a lot and whales sometimes when we're underway. The fact the Navy is trying to reduce plastic waste and process what we do generate is great. The Navy's trying to go greener and if we don't lead the way our kids won't have a great environment."
For more news from USS Cleveland, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lpd7/.