FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 7, 2013) -- National Recycling Week runs Nov. 11-15, and the Environmental Management Office encourages all Fort Lee members to participate in recycling efforts.

Recycling is a way to ensure that items we’ve finished using are returned to the resource pool to be turned into something useful or cleaned and reused. It conserves raw materials and saves additional energy that manufacturers would otherwise use in producing new products from scratch.

Recycling also reduces the amount of reusable material taking up vital landfill space, which is a growing issue across the United States. In addition, recycling can decrease pollution that results from waste disposal and reduce the consumption of raw materials which conserves our natural resources.

Not everyone feels motivated to recycle, and indeed, it can sometimes seem like a complex undertaking. After understanding the benefits and getting into the habit of recycling, many realize it’s not that hard and it soon becomes second nature. Making the commitment to recycle in your household or workplace is a large benefit to our country and our environment.

Make a commitment to recycle as much as you can.

When reducing your family’s consumption and reusing all that you can, recycling can help to reduce the amount of items going into your garbage each week. This practice will ensure that you are contributing to a sustainable and long-term commitment to your community by making the most of our environmental resources. By recycling regularly, you show other people that it is possible. Recycling can offer lasting results that make a difference in your community.

Get informed.

The majority of households in Virginia’s urban areas are becoming part of a municipal or similar recycling collection program. If this is the case for you, you’ll already have a grasp on the basics of recycling your materials. Even with programs available to you, there can be some confusion as to what is recyclable and what is not. Each program can be different depending on your state or county. Much of it is dependent on the availability of nearby recycling facilities.

And if you’ve moved around a bit, you might be surprised to learn that something you could recycle in one place cannot be recycled somewhere else. Be sure to read the accompanying information associated with your household recycling collectors, which may be printed on your recycling container, printed in brochures, and on websites. If you can’t find the information anywhere, call your recycling collector for questions. On Fort Lee, you can call Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division at (804) 734-4798 or 734-3766 for recycling guidance.

Know what can be recycled.

Many items are recyclable and over time, more items are added to the list of what can be recycled. Recycling is dependent on the community you live in or the military installation that you work at. Fort Lee’s Mandatory Recycling Policy is located at www.lee.army.mil under the Services Tab; click Fort Lee Policies, Next click the Tab with Environmental in the Title, then click on Policy 19-03 Fort Lee Recycling Policy. As a general rule these items can be recycled:

• All cardboard, paper board boxes etc.

• All paper, white copier paper including phone books, magazines, newspapers and waste office paper

• All metals, aluminum cans; and any scrap metal to include steel food cans, coffee tins

• Plastics with recyclable symbols on them; usually PET or type “1” plastic and H.D.P.E or type “2” plastic

• Plastic bags (these should be recycled at local plastic bag drop-off points – AAFES has one at the Main Exchange)

• Glass bottles

• Yard waste must be place in clear bags

• Toner/Ink cartridges can be recycled on Fort Lee; take to Building 7121

• Electronic waste – but not hand-receipt items – by taking it to recycling center

• Used light bulbs, batteries, oil/antifreeze and hazardous waste can be recycled by calling (804) 734-3811

Set up your own personal recycling system that works best for your area.

Recycling requires space in the home or workplace, so it’s important to work out how to deal with this in a way that doesn’t negatively impact living or working space or create a hazard.

There are a lot of great options that you can either purchase or make to keep recycling sorted and safe within your home and work before putting it out for collection. Some of your choices may depend on the preferences of the collector – in some areas, mixing recyclables is acceptable, while in others, they will only collect separated recyclables or even collect different types of recyclables on different weeks. At Fort Lee the recycling is commingled. Commingled recycling means customers can place all recyclable materials together and it is sorted after it is collected. Commingled recycling makes it easier for the customer. The recycling process on Fort Lee should follow the aforementioned policy.

Be a clean and thoughtful recycler.

Before adding some items to recycling, ensure that they’re clean. Rinse food or drink residues out of bottles and cans. Cleaning recyclables will prevent odor and pest infestation.

Spread the word.

Become a champion for recycling by motivating neighbors, influencing work groups, getting leadership inspired and spreading the recycling attitude! During National Recycling Week, Recycling Action Teams will review the recycling process here at Fort Lee. When they visit your building, ask recycling questions or give them new ideas for improving the Fort Lee recycling process.