Air Force focuses on recycling this Earth Day

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
As the nation celebrates the 45th annual Earth Day this April 22, the Air Force is re-emphasizing its standing commitment to environmental stewardship and encouraging its military and civilian workforce to promote recycling both at home and on the job, and asking them to leverage available opportunities to "Conserve Today - Secure Tomorrow."

"MacDill's mandatory recycling program conserves natural resources, saves energy, and avoids landfill disposal costs," commented Eric Vichich, MacDill's Qualified Recycling Program manager. "This is a way for every individual on base to have a positive impact in support of the mission."

Installations across the enterprise are taking action to meet the Department of Defense's strategic sustainability performance plan goal of diverting 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste this fiscal year and beyond. 

"This is the highest diversion goal in the history of Air Force diversion efforts," said Nancy Carper, subject matter expert on integrated solid waste management at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. 

MacDill currently diverts about 45 percent of its waste from the landfill/incinerator.

Meeting these goals requires diligence and participation from everyone, from the recycling center manager looking for new ways to expand services, to office workers taking advantage of all available opportunities to recycle and not throwing out items like paper, plastic, aluminum cans and cardboard, Carper said.

Recent inspections of various facilities on MacDill have found that many individuals do not even have a recycling bin; however, base environmental provides bins at no cost.
"Having immediate access to a recycling bin is the first step in developing a comprehensive waste management strategy for your facility," commented Vichich. "The next step is to learn what can and cannot go in the bin and ensure 100 percent participation."

In order to reach the federal recycling goal, each person on MacDill only has to recycle 2 ½ pounds more each month.

In an age of growing technology, the need for effective electronics recycling has garnered national attention.

While all Air Force-owned electronic equipment is required to be recycled through Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services, the Air Force is encouraging its workforce to take proactive steps to keep home electronics out of the waste stream and is encouraging individuals to take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service's Blue Earth Federal Recycling Program, which makes it easier for individuals to recycle personally owned ink cartridges and unwanted electronic devices free of charge using the postal network.

Air Force and other federal employees can send eligible electronics items through the mail to a certified recycler at no cost. Upon receipt, data are wiped from the devices to ensure privacy and information protection.

This year, the Air Force is once again asking Airmen and their families to logon to the "Blue Acts of Green" Facebook page at to share recycling and other environmentally-friendly practices they commit to perform everyday as well as learn what other families are doing across the country to protect one of Earth's most precious natural resources.

For more information on the Air Force's Earth Day efforts, visit

For information on MacDill's program, contact Mr. Eric Vichich, 6 CES/CEIE at 828-0460.