America Recycles Day provides opportunity to renew environmental dedication

  • Published
  • By Frank Carpenter
  • 341st Civil Engineer Squadron
November 15 is a holiday! ...whoa, calm down, and take the briefcase back out of the closet. No one gets a day off work, but you can buy a card or even party supplies to mark the occasion. It might not be a Hallmark holiday, but appropriate materials do carry a special logo. Just turn the card or plates upside down and find the famous three arrow triangle that designates an item as being made from recyclable products. 

November 15 is America Recycles Day - a special day set aside to encourage Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. First celebrated in 1997, the number of participants has grown each year as communities and individuals renew their commitment to preserving our planet's resources. 

Recycling has been around for many years and has proven to be an easy and effective way to manage waste. According to, the average American generates about seven and a half pounds of waste each day - nearly one-and-a-half tons a year. Recycling plastic, metal, glass and paper not only significantly reduces the amount of material sent to incinerators and landfills, it also goes into making many new products. Most of us are used to seeing paper and cardboard made from recycled paper, but did you know that the soda bottle you recycled a couple of months ago may be in that new park bench down by the Commissary? Or that the glass bottle you turned in last year is now part of a surfboard catchin' a wave off of Maui? The more people recycle, the more material is available for products we all use. So how does this help the environment? In addition to not going into landfills, using recycled material means manufacturers have to take fewer raw materials from the environment. This saves a lot of energy and helps preserve natural habitats. 

Here at Malmstrom, we are committed to preserving the environment through, in part, offering comprehensive recycling services. As part of our ongoing campaign, we encourage all our active-duty members, civilian employees and their family members to support us on Nov. 15 by renewing your commitment to recycling.

Recycling on Malmstrom 

For recycling to work, everyone has to participate in each phase of the loop. From government and industry, to organizations, small businesses, and people at home, every American can make recycling a part of their daily routine. Below are some ways to get involved:

Grass Clippings and Sod: Base residents are strongly urged to use a mulching mower to eliminate bagging of grass clippings. Mulching blades are available for base residents at the Self-Help Store, Bldg. 220. For information, call 731-7701. However, for those who must bag their grass clippings or have removed sod to plant a garden, please use the refuse dumpsters provided. Do not put grass clippings in the recycling containers.

Aluminum, Tin, Glass, Newspaper and Cardboard: To recycle aluminum and tin cans, glass, newspapers and cardboard use the curbside recycling containers provided with military family housing units or at the Recycle Center located next to the car wash. The city of Great Falls Recycling Center (15th St. N and River Rd.) is another option; their hours of operation are Thurs.-Mon. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Metals: Housing residents are encouraged to recycle metal through local metal recyclers. Metal should not be placed in the base dumpsters. Local recyclers are Pacific Recycling (727-6222), Filipowicz Bros. (727-0535) and Steel ETC. (761-4848)

Unusable Appliances: Drop them off at the city of Great Falls Recycle Center (452-2279) if the item contains refrigerants, there is a small fee for removal and disposal. When purchasing new appliances, arrange for the retail business to dispose of your old appliance.

Clothing and Other Useful Household Items: The Airman's Attic, Malmstrom Thrift Store, Goodwill (will pick up), St. Vincent De Paul (will pick up) and the Salvation Army are excellent places to sell or donate your household items. Also the food bank is an option for canned goods and condiments.

Furniture and Other Large Items: In the housing area, place large items curbside prior to the Friday pick up. This will allow the refuse service to make arrangements to have the item picked up. Downtown residents should call their refuse service provider for guidance.

Hazardous Household Materials: Housing residents are encouraged to recycle hazardous household materials by dropping off unused and unwanted household chemicals to the base self help store (Bldg. 220) for use by other base residents. You may also place hazardous household materials in the hazardous chemical drop off container located on the south side of building 410. Ensure the containers are closed and placed inside the containment area.

Please remember, it is illegal to bring refuse and chemicals on to Malmstrom AFB for disposal. Dispose of them properly through your local refuse service or city recycle center.

· Contact the Civil Engineer Squadron Pollution Prevention Office at 731-6448 for information on recycling centers in your area, as well as services that may be available (such as curbside pickup for certain materials).

If we all work to reduce, reuse and recycle at home and at work, we will make our environment and our communities healthier places for ourselves and our families.