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    Recycling contract turns trash to treasure

    Recycling contract turns trash to treasure

    Photo By Sgt. Rob Cooper | Sheikh Saad Hasan Altememy, a local leader near Balad, Iraq, confers with Joint Base...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Rob Cooper 

    76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    By Sgt. Robert G. Cooper III
    76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    BALAD, Iraq – A war can be messy, literally; from daily trash collections conducted by roving of garbage trucks, to amassing scrap metals born from the aftermath of battle, waste management is a serious business for U.S. Forces in Iraq.

    And that business is about to become worthwhile for Iraqi people and further consolidate security gains made by the Iraqi government and security forces. During a ribbon-cutting ceremony, July 10, U.S. Forces, contractors and Iraqi business leaders commemorated the opening of a recycling center designed to turn the military's trash into Iraq's economic treasure.

    Contracted through Iraqi-owned Almandhour United Company, the center is designed to spur green practices among Joint Base Balad's waste management operations by creating a hub for recyclables to be collected and shipped to recycling plants throughout Iraq. In the past, recyclables that are collected are either burned in incinerators or stockpiled throughout various holding areas on post. With the new recycling center, large amounts of aluminum, glass, plastics, cardboard and steel products are instead packed up and shipped to recycling centers near Baghdad and sold on the Iraqi market.

    Neseb Saad Hasan Altememy, Albu-Hassan, Iraq, the general manager Almandhour United, said that his company plans to profit most from the large amounts of aluminum thrown away on JBB. According to U.S. Army figures, more than 90,000 aluminum soda cans are thrown away daily on post. Altememy said that the center will be able to export more than a ton of aluminum each day, which goes for about $750 on the Iraqi market.

    "This is a great day for Joint Base Balad because we've solved a problem that's been present here for a long time, and it's a great day because we have yet another opportunity to help the local economy," said Brig. Gen. Brian Bishop, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing and installation commander.

    "With the addition of this center, Joint Base Balad looks to reduce its trash volume by literally tons a day," said Col. Kenneth Newlin, deputy commander of the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. "The center will also have the ability to drive new industries here and allow us to aggressively seek a new market for plastics recycling locally."

    "If we're ever going to leave this country, we have to build not only by supporting its people, but its economy, too," said Air Force Capt. Robert Yates, a contracting officer with the Air Force's Joint Contracting Command-Iraq.

    Besides providing a green approach to bolstering the Iraqi economy, the center will also present jobs to local Iraqis. JCC-I crafted the contract, hiring and negotiations were headed up by members of the 76th IBCT, Indiana National Guard, and their work with the Iraqi-Based Industrial Zone initiative. Because both departments have strict hiring standards written into the contracts, the Iraqi people have first pick when it comes to these jobs.

    "The I-BIZ program does an excellent job because it allows the U.S. government to share these kinds of contracts more often with the Iraqi people, rather than with larger contractors who are here from other countries," Altememy said. "We feel like we have developed trust from the U.S., and so now better jobs are available to us."

    Better jobs equal better security measures, said Capt. Lynn Thompson, Joint Base Balad's waste management officer.

    "We give them a safe job, so they don't need a dangerous one like shooting at American Soldiers or planting IEDs," said Thompson.

    In addition to making money for its host nation, U.S. Forces plan to benefit from the contract in the form of cost savings. Originally, a contract with non-Iraqi contractors was envisioned, with a price tag of about $1.5 million per year. Because Almandhour United will profit from the recyclables alone, no bidding costs were incurred through contracting agreements.

    "They key is that we're doing this for free," Yates said. "Rather than paying one contractor to help look after our environment, we instead took a win-win approach by choosing to localize."



    Date Taken: 07.12.2008
    Date Posted: 07.12.2008 10:46
    Story ID: 21413
    Location: BALAD, IQ 

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