Did you know that every year the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) sets a recycling goal for commissaries around the globe?
Programs are in place to make sure that all commissaries reduce the amount of landfill waste by recycling appropriate items. It’s dependent on the management of each commissary location to work together to fulfill these goals.
DeCA announced that their commissaries achieved an 83 percent recycling efficiency rate in 2015 compared with 75 percent in 2012. Wondering what that equals in terms of tonnage?
It is 60,000 tons of cardboard, 1,900 tons of plastic and 108+ tons of paper. That is pretty awesome!
There are 245 commissaries worldwide, so you can imagine the amount of diligence it takes to implement change on that level. It’s evident how important is it to help the environment to DeCA because of the hard work they put in from the commissary level.
According to DeCA’s press release, they even had 7 commissaries achieve net zero status through their organic contracts. That means they were successful in turning their organic waste material into compost!
A big congrats goes to the Hawaii commissaries in Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base and Schofield Barracks. The other 2 commissaries that did net zero status are Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and Los Angeles AFB in California.
DeCA doesn’t stop there. They have a food bank program that has been helping with their environmental efforts as well as making a local impact. More commissaries (from 110 to 134) participated in the food bank program than last year. As the commissaries rotate out food that is still edible, they were able to donate the items to more food banks (from 77 to 117!) than last year too. Their press release quoted the deputy director of DeCA’s logistics directorate, Randy Eller and he said,
Our food bank program resulted in just under 2.4 million pounds of food diverted from ending up in landfills and being used to feed the hungry.
I love his comparison in pounds. It puts things in perspective.
Your family can jump on the bandwagon and become efficient recyclers like the commissaries too! My husband and I try our best to recycle when we can.
Here are some small ways that helped us manage our disposables:
We have separate receptacles for our paper and plastic items. Our housing area has large bins that we place our paper and plastic trash. Separating from the beginning helps us efficiently throw away what we don’t need anymore. Don’t forget to recycle your electronic goods. There can be some harmful material in old TVs and laptops. Also, batteries can be recycled too.
If we need a plastic bag at the grocery store, we save it for additional use. A great example is that we use the plastic to bag up litter from our cat. Also, we use the plastic bags to collect trash from our rooms too. Local commissaries also have plastic recycling bins. Before you start your shopping trip, you can drop off used bags there.
You can also go one up and utilize reusable bags for your grocery shopping! My hometown actually has a plastic bag ban. If you do want to use plastic bags, you pay a fee.
There are goods out there that are made from recycled materials, so buy those items when you can. You can buy recycled paper, plastics and batteries (that’s why don’t forget to recycle them!).
Also, repurposing items are a great way to reduce waste. If you can’t repurpose, donate what you don’t need anymore because your trash can be a treasure for someone else (we’ve heard that before, right?).