Altus AFB celebrates America Recycles Day

  • Published
  • By Mark Painter
  • 97th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight

On November 16, 2020, Airmen from the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight celebrated America Recycles Day with a day of outreach at Rivers Elementary School and at the 97th Air Mobility Wing Recycling Center on Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

Since 1997, the United States has celebrated America Recycles Day on November 15. The day is dedicated to bringing awareness to recycling efforts, encourage the purchase of recycled products and products made with recycled materials. 

To kick off the event, 220 bags were filled with refillable water bottles, reusable straws, hand sanitizer, coloring books, recycling trinkets, and recycling information which was then handed out to students at Rivers Elementary School.

“The students are thankful for the bags and I can assure you the children really enjoyed the coloring books and trinkets”, said Angela Cook, the school principal.

In addition to visiting the school, members of the base and community made trips to the base recycling center to drop off their recyclables. Members of the environmental flight also treated them to a tour of the recycling center, making sure to highlight the various equipment used to process recyclables.

During this time, the environmental flight members took the opportunity to give a tour of the base recycling center and highlighted various equipment used to process recyclables once the community members dropped them off.

The City of Altus operates the base recycling center through a contract issued by the 97 CES. The city schedules pickups, all recycling processes at the center, and provides supporting documentation for the Altus AFB Qualified Recycling Program. The QRP allows all proceeds from the recyclable commodities to go directly back to the base.

During the event, Mark Painter, the 97th CES Environmental Flight environmental program manager, worked hand and hand with Mickey Lyles, Jessie Vazquez and Jimmie Murphy, City of Altus recycling center employees. Together, they crushed aluminum cans, bailed cardboard, shredded paper and sorted through recyclables to separate them into their perspective commodities.

“Things as little as separating office paper from colored paper and magazines in our work spaces can save time and effort at the recycling center,” Painter said. “If we can provide tools and resources to enable individuals to better separate at the source, this could allow for cleaner more desirable recycling commodities that bring higher revenue back to the base. It was eye opening to see what goes on every day at our recycling center and it provided me with a wider perspective on what we can do as individuals to assist with the recycling effort.”