USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines assigned to aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) observed Earth Day, April 22.
Throughout the year, Enterprise does its part to protect the environment through daily practices that minimize the ship's environmental impact without affecting mission readiness.
Sailors aboard Enterprise work with materials potentially harmful to the environment, known as hazardous material (HAZMAT), which needs to be disposed of in a safe manner, with minimal or no effect on the environment.
"Plastics, paints and solvents are the most common materials we have aboard that are harmful to the environment," said Chief Logistics Specialist Donald B. Jones, leading chief petty officer of the HAZMAT division. "These materials are saved until we get back to shore, where they can be recycled or disposed of at the proper shore facility."
Oily waste generated aboard Enterprise is disposed of in the same manner. Enterprise's system ensures that residual engineering oily liquids are reused or disposed of properly by shore facilities when the ship returns to homeport.
Enterprise crewmembers also separate their personal trash into three designated bags for sorting: paper, plastic and metal. In accordance with Navy environmental protection guidelines, all plastic is melted and compressed into disks that are offloaded upon returning to port, all metal is disposed of correctly, paper is incinerated, and food is ground up and reintroduced into the ecosystem.
"Separating trash is a part of what we do every day on Enterprise to stay environmentally friendly," said Jones. "Any type of plastic has to be melted down and carried ashore. Good environmental stewardship is an all-hands effort and it starts in the work centers. Every Sailor and Marine does their part to ensure that materials are disposed of correctly."
Since 2009, the Navy has participated in the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The task force develops national policy that protects oceans, lakes and coastal areas.
Although Earth Day is officially observed April 22, Enterprise will celebrate Earth "Day" the entire month of April. "Partnering for a Greener Future," is the Navy's week-long Earth-themed program, concentrating on partnering with other military, government and civilian organizations to protect the environment and to provide alternate energy solutions.
The entire crew of Enterprise is striving to work as a cohesive unit to be good stewards of the ocean.
"Every crew member needs to realize that we have to work together to make a difference," said Jones.
Enterprise is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and Operation Enduring Freedom missions.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.