Luke recycling programs turn trash to cash

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Luke Airmen can now turn in aluminum cans for instant cash. 

By collecting aluminum cans, Airmen can make money for personal use and base units can earn money for shop use. "Cash for Cans" is located in the parking lot on the west side of the library and is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Collection receptacles for shop use are available at the Hazardous Material Management Office. 

Paper retrievers are also a great way to make money. The Abitibi-brand bins are the yellow and green bins located in several locations on base. Unlike the solid green recycling dumpsters which accept paper, plastic, and aluminum, these bins are strictly for paper. 

By using the Abitibi paper retrievers money is given back to the Luke community. Prior to the Abitibi bins, Luke was paying to have the paper, plastic and aluminum separated. 

"Instead of paying to recycle, we're getting paid to recycle," says Teresa Wesley, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron hazardous material manager. "For every ton of paper recycled, the Luke community receives $20, which is used to fund quality of life programs, such as a Mercury filtration system, replacing the Gila Bend underground storage tanks, and helping valley school teachers with educational materials and curriculums used to promote recycling among grade school children." 

Not only does recycling one ton of paper give money back to Luke, it also saves 17 trees, two barrels of crude oil (which is enough to run the average car for 1,260 miles), 4,100 kilowatts of energy (enough to power the average home for six months), 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space, and 60 pounds of air pollution. Future fund initiatives for Luke will be separate bins for plastic and glass. 

The Luke HazMat staff encourages military members and their families to recycle using the Abitibi paper retrievers, cash for cans and the solid green bins for plastic and cardboard. They also can recycle cell phones, alkaline batteries and used laser inkjet cartridges. Recycling bags are available at the Luke HazMat office. 

For more information or helpful recycling tips call Teresa Wesley at (623) 856-4749.