Everyone sees the recycling bins in offices and buildings throughout Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, but not everyone knows where that recycled material goes when those blue bins are emptied. It goes to the Recycling Center located in Bldg. 623 and the 17 Sailors working there take pride in knowing they are making a difference not only for the environment, but for the base as well.
“A lot of materials come through that yard that would otherwise end up in landfills or in the woods and not properly handled like it should be,” said John Franke, mechanic for the recycling center who has worked there since it opened about 20 years ago. “It is a very valuable place and we have a good crew working there. They take good care of us.”
In fiscal year 2018, the center processed more than 17 tons of plastics, metals, paper and other recyclable material. Cardboard was by far the most recycled material with almost 28,000 lbs. of it processed. Naval Hospital Jacksonville is the biggest source of recyclables on base, sending a semi-trailer truck full of material every week to the center.
Recycling is not only good for the environment, it is also profitable for the base.
“We save the base quite a lot of money,” said AOC Torez Kendrick. “We gather all the recyclables together, bale it all up and companies come truck it out and we get credit for it. Otherwise, we have to pay someone to take it away as trash.”
The Recycling Center is operated by Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) aboard NAS Jacksonville.
“We make tens of thousands of dollars every year for the base,” said AD1 Robert Stilton, leading petty officer for the center. “I feel like it is a good deal for the base because not only does it save on landfill costs, but it also brings on money which goes to MWR. So, it not only helps the base, it also helps the Sailors.”
The center takes office paper (colored and white), newspaper, computer paper and cards, cardboard, car batteries, plastic (including bottles), glass (clear, brown and green) and aluminum cans. Squadrons, commands and departments are encouraged to drop off all recyclables at the recycling center.
“I just want people to know we are here,” said Stilton, who has worked at the center since March 2018. “A lot of people don’t know where we are.”
The Recycling Center is located in Bldg. 623 on Birmingham Avenue, between Gillis and Jason Streets. It is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., but there are self-service windows to drop off material 24 hours a day. For more information on what is accepted at the center, call 542-3113.
“I love working here, It’s great,” said AOAN Diamond Jackson, who has worked at the center for nearly a year. ”We are helping the environment and we are making money for MWR, it’s good for everyone.”