Recycling: More money brings renovation

Eric Goewey, 509th Force Support Squadron material examiner and identifier, examines aluminum cans at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. In order to sell bales of cans to companies, the recycling center crew must ensure all bales are free of unwanted waste. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Eric Goewey, 509th Force Support Squadron material examiner and identifier, examines aluminum cans at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. In order to sell bales of cans to companies, the recycling center crew must ensure all bales are free of unwanted waste. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Mark Davis, 509th Force Support Squadron recycling center supervisor, lifts a bin of paper briquettes using a forklift at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. The paper briquette must be put into a shipping container to prepare to be shipped. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Mark Davis, 509th Force Support Squadron recycling center supervisor, lifts a bin of paper briquettes using a forklift at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. The paper briquette must be put into a shipping container to prepare to be shipped. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Jeff Willming, 509th Force Support Squadron material examiner and identifier, gathers cardboard from a bin at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. Recycling center crew members must go around base and collect cardboard from bins and dumpsters in order to condense it and sell it to companies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Jeff Willming, 509th Force Support Squadron material examiner and identifier, gathers cardboard from a bin at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. Recycling center crew members must go around base and collect cardboard from bins and dumpsters in order to condense it and sell it to companies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Eric Goewey, 509th Force Support Squadron material examiner and identifier, left, and Mark Davis, 509th FSS recycling center supervisor, unload cardboard into the baler at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. The baler is used to compress and convert cardboard into bales to ship to companies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Keenan Berry/Released).

Eric Goewey, 509th Force Support Squadron material examiner and identifier, left, and Mark Davis, 509th FSS recycling center supervisor, unload cardboard into the baler at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 7, 2014. The baler is used to compress and convert cardboard into bales to ship to companies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Keenan Berry/Released).

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Recycling is good! No really it's great!

It contributes to many different elements around the base.Thanks to the 509th Force Support Squadron recycling center, the base has a rubber track, batting cages and restrooms at the baseball fields.

When Whiteman Air Force Base recycles it makes a huge difference for the community. The recycling center also sells recyclable materials to recycling companies within the local community.

"I receive and process all recyclable materials such as cardboard, glass, paper, newspaper, aluminum and metal cans," said Eric Goewey, 509th FSS material examiner and identifier. "We have a drop-off center and two trailers in the general base area. We clear the drop off center 2 to 3 times a day. Once we get enough of the raw materials for that particular type, we run it through the baler to compress it, record the weight and store it in the warehouse until we get enough bales to do a small truck load and sell it to the highest bidder."

Recyclable materials must be weighed before they are sold to the bidder.

"We have a scale we use to weigh the bales," said Mark Davis, 509th FSS recycling center supervisor. "We keep a daily excel spreadsheet in which we use to log the production. A truck load of the commodity will go across the scale and the trucks will take them go to a mill to process cardboard, newspaper and office paper to be sent off to the company."

After all labor and maintenance expenses are paid for, the money stays here at Whiteman. The money is used for items the base populous will benefit from, Davis said.

"This year, $246,000 will go towards new concrete cart paths at the golf course and $104,000 are going towards composting toilets on the backside of the golf course," he said. "Recently, $536 went towards buying a trash receptacle for the new dog park. They are constantly making renovations to suit our Airmen here on base."

To save more money and help protect the environment, the recycling center avoids sending waste to landfills as much as possible.

"The primary goal of our recycling operations here on this installation is to reduce the amount of waste we are sending the landfill, which is called our diversion rate," said Paul Edwards, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron qualified recycling program manager. "Last year, our diversion rate was at 40 percent and we are hoping to do better this year."

Summer is approaching and this is typically the time when most PCS moves occur.

The recycling center provides services to help with clean-up.

"As we enter the summer clean-up and permanent change of station 'season,' it's important to remember the recycling center can provide Whiteman residents with cardboard boxes," Edwards said. "We can also arrange to pick up empty boxes at their location."

The recycling center crew enjoys bringing in money to the base to help make renovations for Airmen and their families.

"I enjoy seeing the results of our job leading to the renovations that are being made to Whiteman," Davis said. "It makes me happy to know that what we are doing is giving back to the base and its Airmen. In return, they reap the benefits."