News: Fort Hood conducts 2nd annual Net Zero Waste workshop
By Christine Luciano
Fort Hood DPW Environmental Outreach
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers, airmen, civilians and contractors participated in Fort Hood's second annual Net Zero Waste workshop at Club Hood here, Feb. 4, to discuss the installation's progress and new ideas to meet its Net Zero Waste goal: eliminating landfill waste by 2020.
"If we can do our part, we can set examples and demonstrate that we can be a sustainable installation by 2020," said Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood.
Since last year's workshop, Fort Hood has already achieved success in recycling, reducing and repurposing.
The installation expanded recycling by accepting all plastics one through seven and incorporating single stream 96-gallon recycle containers in Family housing, conducting two installation-wide yard sales and donating six tons of unsold items to local charities, and reducing 1,130 tons of material from ending up in the landfill.
Milley challenged workshop participants to develop ideas to implement at Fort Hood and make it a better place.
"Net Zero is our project within the Department of Defense and for us to do our little piece of the pie and make our part of the world better," Milley said. "It's important people understand about the environment, conservation and recycling, because our children and grandchildren's future rest on the decisions we make today."
More than 180 participants at the workshop broke into brainstorming sessions in the four different areas of reducing, repurposing, recycling and marketing/outreach. The participants included recycling coordinators from the company and directorate level who serve as first-line educators and the commander and director's tool for implementing NZW strategies.
The workgroups developed unit/organizational and installation level project goals for 2013 and briefed their ideas to help the NZW program move forward.
Maj. Rhoad Shupe, the recycle workgroup team leader and Garrison Command Net Zero Waste recycling coordinator, explained that it's important to talk to the soldiers on the ground.
"These soldiers are involved in daily activities and are the ones coming up with great recycle ideas that are better than what I have," Shupe said. "The key is also to have leadership involvement and to educate the children so they bug their parents about recycling."
Shupe briefed several options his workgroup identified, ranging from issuing recycling bins for individual barracks rooms, to incorporating recycling into staff duty officer and staff duty noncommissioned officer and charge of quarters checklist, and unit recycle coordinators conducting quarterly activities with a recycle emphasis.
Nick Johnsen, the marketing/outreach goal leader and director of Fort Hood Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said his group identified several project actions, like establishing a Net Zero stand down day in conjunction with Earth Day, developing an incentive program and units marking recycle containers and being responsible for them.
Some of the other brainstorming ideas included:
- Issuing reusable cups honored by Fort Hood vendors for beverages.
- Maximizing digital and paperless processing.
- Including a clause in contracts to reduce packing materials for items order.
- Redistributing excess materials through a "Hood list" with the same concept as Craigslist.
- Creating a centralized location for garage sales.
Milley emphasized that achieving NZW will take leadership involvement and commitment.
"If I as a commander want to have Net Zero happen, I have to get my commanders on board," Milley said. "Until I get the commanders energized about it, it's going nowhere."
The key will be to make NZW easy, efficient and cost effective, he said.
"We have to develop an incentivize program that appeals to soldiers and their families," Milley said, "that will encourage people to do these tasks."
The workgroup leaders and team members will develop action plans for the 24 project ideas and brief their progress to the commanding general quarterly at the upcoming Environmental Quality Control Committee meetings.