If you’re not recycling properly at Fort Hunter Liggett, watch out! The “recycling coyote” is on the loose, and he may be coming for you.
The Fort Hunter Liggett Qualified Recycling Program’s “QRP TV” revealed amazing,
never-before-seen “footage” of the recycling coyote at the garrison’s America Recycles Day, Safety Stand-Down and Organizational Day last November.
In the footage, the recycling coyote stealthily appears when unsuspecting individuals either toss their recyclables into refuse receptacles or deposit their trash into recycling bins. Sightings of the coyote, encouraging Soldiers and Civilians to recycle right and recycle more, have been reported throughout the Installation.
Rick Bosch is Fort Hunter Liggett’s appointed Qualified Recycling Program (QRP) manager and Chief of the Community Recreation and Business Operations Division at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. He said that the coyote was born from a need to educate the community about proper recycling practices in a unique and different way. “Recycling should be fun and dynamic, not rigid and regimented with force,” Bosch commented. Since Fort Hunter Liggett’s garrison mascot is a coyote, the creature was the perfect choice to serve as an ambassador for the program. “At this remote and isolated Installation, there are actually more coyotes than people, so we have a built-in watchdog force,” Bosch joked.
Bosch said that the coyote has been well-received so far and that the QRP has been successful in leveraging champions in the community. The achievements of the program – which are rather incredible for such a new endeavor – can be attributed to the efforts of Soldiers, Families, Civilians and contractors.
Fort Hunter Liggett established its QRP in 2013. By 2014, the QRP had recovered 207,000 pounds or 103 tons of recyclables. In 2015, the QRP recovered almost four times that amount ‒ 776,000 pounds or 388 tons. The QRP has not only diverted tons of recyclables from the landfill, though. It has also raised around $500,000 in funds for numerous quality-of-life projects at the Installation. In the past two years, the QRP has funded the Army Reserve birthday barbecue, occupational health and safety educational materials and signage, two organizational days, the annual holiday tree lighting and free internet access at the Cybrary.
Collaboration with the State of California has also enhanced success. The program has achieved Certified Community Service Program status. Their curbside recycling services in Army Family Housing gained Certified Curbside Recycling Program status, and they are a Certified Oil Generator, for which they receive credit and state funding.
Although Fort Hunter Liggett has a 30 percent diversion rate, “we can’t sit on our haunches and rest on our laurels,” Bosch said. The Installation is still chasing the Net Zero standard of a 50 percent diversion rate for municipal solid waste, and Bosch estimated that they would need to recycle about 300,000 additional pounds of materials this year to meet that goal.
To that end, Fort Hunter Liggett plans to continue educating its population about the benefits of recycling – with the help of that wily coyote, of course.
“We have turned a corner in changing behaviors and perceptions,” Bosch said. “[The QRP] is something that helps us meet our Net Zero waste goal but allows us to have fun and benefit as a community. People are the heartbeat of this community, and the more opportunities we have to share time and smiles as an organization, the more prepared and passionate we are to support our mission daily.”