Story by Tyrone Cook and Robin Sullivan, Solid Waste Program Coordinators
Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate

The recycling bins at two 88th Regional Support Command Facilities in Washington are literally overflowing. But, these increased recycling efforts are pushing the Army Reserve closer to its waste diversion goals.

The 88th Readiness Division has experienced significant increases in recycling at two of its facilities in Washington: Pier 23 and Victor L. Kandle Army Reserve Center, both in Tacoma. 

The increase has required a change in the volume of the recycling services provided by the hauler.

Pier 23 has increased the frequency of its recycling service from bi-weekly to weekly.

The Area Maintenance Support Activity shop and Units Supply have been the keys to the increase in recycling at Pier 23. They have been diligent in ensuring that all material that can go into the single stream recycling service is placed in the proper containers. In addition, the custodial contractor has worked with the facility to properly dispose of the recycled materials in the facilities.

Victor L. Kandle Army Reserve Center has increased the size of its hauler-provided container, from a 60 gallon rolling tote to a two yard recycling dumpster.

The Facility Coordinator and the custodial contractor have been working together to increase the recycling in the facility.

Both of these sites will soon receive additional indoor recycling bins to support the recycling activities through the efforts of the 88th Readiness Division and the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate to secure Unfinanced Requirement funds. 

The staffs are looking forward to observing additional increases in recycling as more indoor infrastructure is installed in these facilities.

Bin There Done That Post Graphic




Recycle Keyboard

Often, recycling is considered one of the easiest ways to integrate sustainability into daily operations. The U.S. Army Reserve has been successful in implementing recycling programs at its Installations, Mission Support Command (MSC) and Regional Support Commands (RSCs). But, due to their geographical dispersion and unique needs, RSCs face a challenge: to capture the recycling efforts that happen at their sites every day, across the country. The Army Reserve Solid Waste Program is meeting those challenges to ensure that the Army Reserve will reach Federally mandated solid waste diversion goals.

Currently, the municipal solid waste (MSW) diversion rate for the Army Reserve is 37 percent, which is five percent greater than the MSW diversion rate for fiscal year 2014. So, even though there is still work to be done to reach the Federal goal of 50 percent diversion from landfills, the Army Reserve is charting progress that can be attributed to improvements in reporting.

Many Army Reserve sites have established successful recycling programs, but according to Solid Waste Program Coordinator Tyrone Cook, “the challenge has always been in capturing the diversion at the MSC and RSC level due to their unique organizational structures.” So, Cook and the Solid Waste Team sought solutions. They developed a Solid Waste Management and Recycling Profile Survey, which will be used to improve solid waste best management practices, identify areas within established programs that need improvement and identify additional diversion opportunities. In addition, the team added a solid waste management assessment to existing Comprehensive Energy and Water Evaluations to further identify diversion opportunities and program improvement areas, and they created a Solid Waste and Recycling Weight Estimation Tool and accompanying guidance to help sites more accurately report their diversion.

As a result, sites have markedly improved their diversion reporting in Solid Waste Annual Reporting on the Web (SWARWeb). SWARWeb is an online system for
tracking, analyzing and reporting information on the generation, recycling and disposal of non-hazardous solid waste at Department of Defense Installations. Army Reserve
Installations, the MSC and RSCs are capturing a more complete set of data for the diversion that is taking place throughout the enterprise. “We have improved processes that are helping to identify and include data that have been overlooked in the past,” Cook added. “Overall, Installations, the MSC and RSCs are prepared to increase their diversion reporting simply by capturing what is taking place within their fence lines and out in the field. We may find that we have already reached or exceeded the Federally mandated goals.”

As they ride the momentum of a notable increase in solid waste diversion, Cook and the Solid Waste Team realize that they cannot simply rest on that achievement. While they focus on capturing diversion at Army Reserve Centers, they also want to find ways to decrease or divert food waste from waste streams. They are also bolstering recycling education and awareness efforts. For instance, a paper reduction awareness campaign
began in April with goals of meeting Federal and Department of Defense paper reduction mandates, conserving resources, lowering operating costs, reducing waste and improving business efficiency for the Army Reserve. The recycling programs in the field are forging ahead, too, and continuing to support diversion efforts.

Whether it is reporting more of its diversion or recycling more of its waste, the Army Reserve is taking out the trash today so we have a more sustainable mission for the future.


Colored Paper

In honor of the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, enjoy these 46 practical and creative ways to reuse paper. You can click on the projects that are in green for further instructions.

• Use shredded white paper or black and white newspaper to line cages for small animals
Make an eco-friendly cat litter with shredded newspaper

Cut unbleached, undyed paper bags into strips and use them as mulch in your garden
Create biodegradable pots for seedlings from toilet paper or paper towel tubes
• Use a paper coffee cup to scoop garden soil
• Place fresh fruit in a used paper bag to accelerate ripening

• Clean windows with old newspapers and vinegar
• Use pieces of crumpled newspaper to deodorize small spaces
• Line drawers and bookshelves with colorful gift wrap
Decorate a paper towel tube to make a jewelry holder
• Cover old shoe boxes with colorful paper to make storage containers

• Make confetti with colorful shredded paper
• Cut shapes out of colorful paper to make banners, streamers, ornaments and other decorations
Make party hats out of used gift wrap
Make a piñata with scraps of colorful paper
String holiday lights through paper coffee cups to make paper lanterns
Roll old newspapers to make a firestarter

Fold colorful newspapers and magazine pages into gift bags
• Fill gift bags, boxes and baskets with shredded, colorful paper
• Wrap gifts with colorful paper such as newspaper comic strips, obsolete maps and brightly patterned magazine pages
Fold old wrapping paper into gift bows
Design your own greeting cards with graphics from
newspapers and magazines
Turn a paper coffee cup sleeve into a gift card holder

Make a book cover with used gift wrap
• Use blank sections of printed office paper as scratch pads
Decorate toilet paper or paper towel tubes to create desk and drawer organizers
Make a journal or notebook from old magazines
Make a bookmark with bright card stock, old photos and paper

• Save cardboard boxes for future shipping needs
• Use newspapers instead of Styrofoam “peanuts” or plastic
bubble wrap to pack boxes for shipping

Use paper towel or toilet paper tubes to make a wreath
Weave old newspapers into a basket
• Decorate a paper coffee cup and fill it with water to use as a vase for flowers
• Frame colorful, patterned paper to make unique art

Fill paper towel or toilet paper tubes with rice or beans to make homemade maracas
• Make an old-fashioned paper airplane with old newspapers
Use colorful magazine pages for découpage projects
Use old newspapers for paper maché
• Decorate old paper bags to make reusable grocery totes
Make your own recycled paper
Roll old newspapers into beads for jewelry
Fold origami shapes out of old paper
• Repurpose a paper coffee cup to mix paint
• Use old newspapers as a “drop cloth” to protect floors and furniture from painting jobs, your child’s art activities and other potentially messy projects

• Donate old books to a local charity, school or library
• Donate recent magazines to your doctor’s office

No Army Reserve or Federal endorsement of external links is intended.



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.”