News: Be green, clean with Reuse Room
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — Save the environment and some money by finding supplies from the Reuse Room.
The room, administered by the Hazardous Materials Minimization Center, takes in and redistributes spare chemical supplies. All Marine Corps Base Hawaii personnel are welcome to take donated items for free. Those living in base housing can donate spare cleaning products, motor oil, propane tanks and other useful chemical supplies that are gently used or unopened.
“The Reuse Room has continued to be a benefit for many people,” said Gerald Schmitz, the site manager of the Hazardous Materials Minimization Center.
The room’s free products are stored near building 6047. The center’s personnel are available by phone or in person on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They offer tips on what’s in stock as well as what can be donated.
“If it’s not something you’d want to put on a table for a garage sale or take from a garage sale, it’s best to self-dispose of it,” said Cindy Wong, a hazardous materials specialist with the center.
Wong and Schmitz said those who wish to donate must check in with center personnel before dropping off their supplies or taking items. Plants on display at the center are not up for grabs, but there are many supplies available including paint and automotive care products.
“Propane tanks are one of the high-demand items we have in stock right now,” Schmitz said. “We don’t fill up tanks, but we have several partially full. We can also take in gas tanks for lawn mowers.”
Schmitz said the Reuse Room is a resource for a wide range of free products, but will not accept nearly depleted products or personal care items.
Wong said products in small quantities should be disposed of in the trash, and the center also offers guidance on self-disposal.
“We can’t take in used motor oil,” she said. “But we can provide absorbent materials to soak up the oil.”
Marine Corps Base Hawaii housing residents can reduce their waste and spending by learning the disposal policies and seeking help from additional agencies.
Oil changes are not allowed in living spaces on base, Schmidt said, but Marines and sailors can utilize the Auto Hobby Shop where they can properly dispose of their automotive chemicals.
The center cannot take in lead acid batteries, but battery owners should be able to turn in their old batteries to their retailer for safe disposal.
The variety and type of supplies in stock changes daily, but many at the center said there’s one item usually available: paint.
“There was one person who came for every color of paint they could get,” said Scot North, an environmental compliance inspector with the center. “He was happy to get any color of paint, all the paint he could get for free. His project needed a base coat to paint over graffiti.”
Schmitz said those who take items from the room should only take what they need, to prevent having excess. He suggests those who donate should make a plan ahead of time, especially if they are quickly relocating, so the disposal process goes smoothly.
Whether base personnel decide to make a clean sweep of their products or be green with free supplies, the choice to reuse could be a smart one. For more information, call the center at 257-0770, extension 21.