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Preserving resources through recycling

By Airman 1st Class Cassandra Johnson 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

What is the fate of a plastic bottle? If thrown in the trash it may find its way to a landfill where it takes over 400 years to decompose. If not properly disposed of, it could find its way into oceans and streams where it can cause harm to animals and their habitats.

However, if recycled, plastic and other recyclables can be repurposed as clothing, kitchenware, or a variety of different items. Barksdale’s recycling center is dedicated to making sure the base does its part in reducing waste and promoting the conservation of resources.

“Recycling allows the re-use of materials that otherwise, would have to be grown or mined,” said Clay Bates, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron supervisory biologist. “Processing some used materials may be more energy efficient and cheaper than using new material. In the case of paper, recycling paper products negates the need to cut and process as many trees.”

Paying attention to which items are recyclable can limit the amount of waste.

“Ninety-two percent of items that we buy come packed in a recyclable container,” said Alfredo Garza, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron solid waste and recycling manager. “If an item has a triangular recycling symbol don’t throw it away. When we recycle, we not only help ourselves, but we preserve our kids and our grandkids future resources.”

Recycling can also be more cost efficient since most landfills are located outside city limits, which can make the expense of transporting waste less economical.  

“In 2017 Barksdale saved $861,142 by recycling, but we still sent 1,562 tons of refuse to the landfill. That is 130 school buses end-to-end and at least two-thirds of the waste was recyclable,” said Garza.

There are 64 containers on base including those at the recycling center specifically for recyclables. While recycling is highly encouraged, dumping is illegal. On each recycle container is a list of accepted items. Placing any items outside of containers is considered dumping. Putting unapproved items into containers is also dumping. If an item is not listed, but still needs to be disposed of, reach out to the recycling center at 456-5293 for more information.