ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- As Earth Week kicked off around the world April 22, guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) followed suit with a concerted effort to minimize the ship's footprint.
James E. Williams limits waste, conserves water, and properly disposes of their hazardous material to preserve the integrity of the world's oceans.
"It's an all-hands effort aboard the destroyer to reach this goal, as all Sailors are educated and responsible for sorting trash, limiting water usage, and properly handling hazardous material," said Lt. Nathaniel S. Edge, supply officer aboard James E. Williams.
Culinary Specialist 1st Class Arthur W. Hoskins, chief stores custodian and supervisor of the ship's waste management program, explains that the crew participated by separating their trash into plastics, food, paper and metal.
Once the trash is separated, the ship employs various pieces of equipment to dispose of this waste: a pulper and metal shredder are used to breakdown biodegradable waste for absorption back into the environment, and a plastic waste processor compresses plastic products into discs or "pucks."
"The plastic pucks are held on board until we reach port," said Edge. "If the facilities are available, the pucks are then recycled."
Oily wastes, as well as other hazardous materials, are strictly monitored and accounted for to prevent contaminating the environment. The Navy and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide waste management guidelines and instructions for the crew to follow, and the ship provides its own instruction on the use of hazardous materials.
Apart from waste disposal, the ship purifies salt water into potable water for the crew, which in turn reduces the use of natural freshwater. It takes energy to create potable water, and the crew is encouraged to limit their usage and conserve when possible, said Edge.
"Nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines use very little fuel, but as a destroyer we rely on fuel. We attempt to limit our usage as much as possible, but it is dependent upon the mission," said Edge. "We want to leave the ocean the same way we found it, in order to do that we have to raise awareness."
James E. Williams minimizes their discharge of waste into the ocean as much as possible.
"It's important for our future and for our children's future," said Hoskins. "It's our planet, and we've only got one of them."
James E. Williams is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and supporting missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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