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Recycling made easy

Recycling at Peterson Air Force Base can be easy if you take a few seconds to think about what can and can’t be recycled. America Recycles Day is Nov. 15 this year. Peterson AFB will host activities on Nov. 17 to celebrate America Recycles Day, including a “dumpster dive” demonstration and recycling and energy awareness tables set up at the entrance to the food court at the base exchange. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Airman 1st Class Jessica Hines)

Recycling at Peterson Air Force Base can be easy if you take a few seconds to think about what can and can’t be recycled. America Recycles Day is Nov. 15 this year. Peterson AFB will host activities on Nov. 17 to celebrate America Recycles Day, including a “dumpster dive” demonstration and recycling and energy awareness tables set up at the entrance to the food court at the base exchange. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Airman 1st Class Jessica Hines)

From 21st Civil

Engineer Squadron

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  — Recycling at Peterson Air Force Base can be easy if you take a few seconds to think about what can and can’t be recycled.

Household articles like appliances, mattresses, furniture, electronic equipment — including TVs, computers, and stereo equipment — yard debris, used oil, car batteries and household chemicals should not be taken to the recycle yard on Peterson AFB. These items cost the Air Force extra money to dispose. There are businesses off base that will take these items for you and probably for free.

n If you have usable appliances or furniture, consider donating them to charitable organizations or the thrift store on base. Also, you can check the Thrifty Nickel for free pick-up. If you have non-usable appliances, contact Waste Management-Recycle America at 633-0955.

n One Nation Walking Together, at 329-0251, will take new or gently used mattresses.

n Community Intersections Electronics Recycling Center, at 219-3996, and El Paso County Household Chemical Waste Collection Facility, at 520-7878, will accept electronic equipment.

n If you have yard debris, call Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program at 520-7878 (Free on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.); or Rocky Top Resources at 579-9103

nIf you have used oil or car batteries, many auto parts stores will take it. However, call before taking it. Also, the El Paso County Household Chemical Waste Collection Facility at 520-7878, is another drop-off place where they accept other household chemicals.

Plastics – Recycling by the numbers. What can be recycled on Peterson AFB?

Look for the symbol code, a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 and surrounded by a triangle of arrows, usually on the bottom or the side of a plastic container. If the plastic does not have one of these symbols, it cannot be recycled and should go in the trash.

No.1 plastic is found in soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; and oven-safe food trays. It can be recycled into such things as polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture and carpet.

No.2 plastic is found in milk jugs, juice bottles, bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles, shampoo bottles, some trash and shopping bags, motor oil bottles, butter and yogurt tubs and cereal box liners. These plastics can be recycled into laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipes, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables and fencing.

No. 3 plastic is found in window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows and piping. It can be recycled into decks, paneling, mud flaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps and mats.

No. 4 plastic is found in squeezable bottles, bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags, tote bags, clothing; furniture and carpet. It can be recycled into trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties and floor tile.

No. 5 plastic is found in some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws and medicine bottles and can be reused for signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets and trays.

No. 6 plastic is found in disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles and compact disc cases. They can be recycled into insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing and carry-out containers.

No. 7 plastic is miscellaneous and found in three- and five-gallon water bottles, bullet-proof materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers and nylon. It can be recycled into plastic lumber or custom-made products.

Some points to remember when recycling plastics:

1. Rinse out your containers.

2. Take plastic grocery bags to your grocery store for recycling.

3. Take caps and pump spray tops off of plastic containers.

4. Crush plastic containers to save space in your recycling bin.

Interesting facts:

1. Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.

2. Americans go through 25 billion plastic bottles every year.

3. Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour. Most of them are thrown away.

4. Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.

Paper:

Peterson AFB has an office paper shredding policy. All office paper should be shredded and placed in an “office paper only” dumpster.

The recycle yard takes junk mail, shredded paper, phone books, newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes. All this paper can be put in the paper dumpsters in the recycle yard.

There also are bins for cardboard. All cardboard should be flattened and placed in “Cardboard only” dumpsters.

Interesting facts:

1. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, two barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough energy to power the average American home for five months. (EPA, 2008)

2. Just over 48 percent of office paper is recovered for recycling. This becomes raw material for paperboard, tissue, and printing and writing papers. (Keep America Beautiful, 2006)

3. Approximately 1.5 million tons of construction products are made each year from paper, including insulation, gypsum wallboard, roofing paper, flooring, padding and sound-absorbing materials. (American Forest and Paper Association, 2002)

4. Recycled paper can also be made into paper towels, notebook paper, envelopes, copy paper and other paper products, as well as boxes, hydro-mulch, molded packaging, compost, and even kitty litter. (EPA, 2008)

5. The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2 billion trees per year.

Aluminum cans/tin cans:

The Peterson recycle yard has dumpsters for aluminum cans/tin cans. All other metal should not be placed in the aluminum recycle bins.

Interesting facts:

1. A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.

2. Recycling aluminum saves 95 percent of the energy needed to produce new aluminum from raw materials. Energy saved from recycling one ton of aluminum is equal to the amount of electricity the average home uses over 10 years. (Keep America Beautiful, 2006)

3. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for three hours, or a TV for two hours. (EPA, 2008)

4. Americans throw out enough iron and steel to supply all the nation’s automakers on a continuous basis.

5. When you toss out one aluminum can you waste as much energy as if you’d filled the same can half-full of gasoline and poured it into the ground.

Recycle, reduce and reuse – it’s good for the Air Force and for the planet.

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