WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island was recently presented the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Gold Award for Technical Excellence in Waste Reduction, Recycling and Composting.
Pete Madrigal of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and John Lacy of Navy Region Northwest were on hand at the 40th Annual Solid Waste International Exposition in Long Beach, Calif., Oct. 31 to see Paul F. Brewer accept the award for the naval base.
Supported by the commanding officer and senior management staff, the Navy Whidbey Recycle Solid Waste Management Program was established in 1990. In anticipation of Whidbey's landfill closure, a goal was established to substantially reduce the amount of waste that would otherwise have to be hauled away to the nearest regional landfill at considerable expense.
This program would ultimately provide service for 1,550 Navy family households, and 140 base industrial and office buildings. Today, the center serves a population of more than 7,500 military, 2,000 civilian personnel and 20,000 family members.
Since its modest beginnings, the program has grown from 186 tons of solid waste material recycled to a whopping 49,444 tons diverted from the waste stream.
"Through implementing a source reduction program, composting and upgrading equipment, our solid waste stream was reduced by 484 tons over 2000 totals," Brewer said. "Also in 2001, full-scale operation testing of the Navy's first in-vessel composting facility was completed. It's expected to further increase the waste diversion rate to over 75 percent, in years to come."
Since the program's inception, NAS Whidbey Island has saved millions of dollars in disposal costs and earned $1.7 million in income from recycled products.
The comprehensive recycle program processes more than 50 commodities, including all paper products, metals, plastics, glass, automotive products, electronic media and used oil.
"For example," Brewer continued, "our Fuel and Oil Recovery Program collected and sent over 615,400 gallons to a refinery for future use as heating oil. Hard to handle Styrofoam packing peanuts are collected for re-use and sent to our supply department, saving thousands of dollars each year."
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