Environmental programs translate to savings

  • Published
  • By Capt. Penny Carroll and Mr. Mark Paasche
  • 127th Wing
Selfridge Air National Guard Base has an active and growing environmental management program. This April, as the observance of Earth Day and readying for summer occurs, those serving at Selfridge are urged to consider recycling in their waste management efforts and green practices in day-to-day life.

In 2009 alone, Selfridge recycled more than 44,000 pounds of paper products, which resulted in saving 88 cubic yards of landfill space. Since beginning the recycling program in 2005, the base has overturned an impressive 300,000 pounds of paper products, which results in an environmental savings of more than 450 cubic yards of landfill space, a savings of more than 2,500 trees and more than a million gallons of water.

The recycling of paper and cardboard at Selfridge is mandated by federal law (40 CFR 246.200-202) and Air Force Instruction (AFI 32-7042, Waste Management). Executive Order 13514, signed by President Obama on October 5, 2009, strengthens the requirements of Executive Order 13423, signed by the Bush administration. It contains several goals for waste and energy reduction including the goal of attaining a 50% recycling and waste diversion rate by 2015.

The diversion rate is the redirecting of materials which might otherwise be placed in the waste stream into recycling or recovery programs. At Selfridge, the diversion rate has been hovering just below the 40% rate, which means heftier recycling efforts should be. Selfridge employees can help attain this goal by participating in the recycling programs that are currently in-place and offering suggestions on potential new sources. If a recycling program is not yet set up in your building, contact Environmental Management at ext. 6273 to set one up.

The following items can be recycled at Selfridge through the Recycling Hub located in building 180, open only during the week: CDs, floppy disks, VHS tapes; alkaline and rechargeable batteries; ink jet and toner cartridges; fluorescent, sodium vapor light bulbs; empty small compressed gas cylinders; paper, to include catalogs and cardboard; electronic equipment and its components. Personnel are reminded to ensure all Privacy Act, sensitive and personally identifiable information is shredded prior to recycling. No classified or other unauthorized information and documents can be collected at this site.

Electronic equipment consists of that which cannot be turned in through the Communications Squadron in building 128, such as fax machines and old televisions. Electronic components are circuit board parts and sensors which have been removed from vehicles, heating and alarm systems.

Another major environmental area with the potential for everyone to impact is storm water management. Because Selfridge storm water drains directly into Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River, actions can have a significant impact not only on the health of these water bodies, but also SANGB's standing with the EPA and the public. It is the responsibility of everyone to employ common sense preventative measures like maintaining vehicles to not have excessive leaks, or not over-filling gas tanks at the Shoppette. These actions not only keep SANGB in compliance with environmental permits, they also protect the water used for drinking, fishing and swimming.

People affect the environment every day through their daily activities, both at work and at home. These impacts may seem small on an individual basis, however, when practiced daily and duplicated throughout the base, the Guard and the federal government, the cumulative impact produces multiple positive benefits nationwide.