New compactors, efficiency upgrade Grissom’s recycling program

  • Published
  • By Doug Hays
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

When it comes to innovation and efficiency, Grissom is literally crushing it in the recycling department.

The 434th Air Refueling Wing recently added a two new compactors to the recycling center that are not only going to save time and space, but also reduce man hours required to run the recycling program.

“The new compactors have the capability of storing up to 40 cubic yards of recyclable paper each,” said Cory Walters, 434th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight chief. “This will drastically reduce man-hours, because each bail is automatically secured and transferred to a storage compartment all self-contained inside the new equipment located outside of our recycling building.”

With more than 50 tons of cardboard and paper passing through the recycling center annually, each additional step taken out of the process could save time and money.

“In the past, someone would be required to hand wrap each bail and then transport it to a storage area,” said Walters. “Not only does that increase the chances of a safety mishap, but the bales of paper are large and at times could take up more space than we had available.”

The recycling center is also helping to improve efficiency by changing the way it separates recyclable paper.

“We used to separate paper into five categories; newspaper, cardboard, white paper, shredded paper and all other,” said April Mota, 434th CES materials examiner and identifier. “The new process only requires us to separate paper into two categories greatly reducing the amount of man-hours needed to identify and separate the materials.”

With two bailers, the new process also saves time because material does not have to pile up before a bail can be made, and bales do not have to be stored separately.

“The two compactors allow us to throw all cardboard in one machine and all other paper in the other,” said Mota. “This will eliminate storage bins that in the past would sit around until we had enough material for an entire bale.

“The new process was an idea that started a year ago, but couldn’t begin until we got the new bailers,” said Mota. “It’s been a long time coming, and we’re really excited about the improvements.”

The recycling program is ran through government non-appropriated funds, meaning that it is a self-sustained program that operates without using taxpayer dollars appropriated by congress.

“Any money we save goes right back into the program,” said Walters. “By reducing hours needed to run the recycling program we can allocate that money to other areas; it’s a cycle that will continue to improve into the future.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Men and women from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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