Greening our base

  • Published
  • By Carroll Hale
  • 452 Environmental Office
The small steps we take as individuals to help preserve the environment are the same steps we can take here at work to make March Air Reserve Base a greener and better place. With the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day being celebrated next week, now is a good time to review some of these steps, such as turning off the lights when you're not using a room, ridesharing, recycling and buying environmentally sound products.

Practicing the three Rs is a simple way to lessen both your work and personal environmental footprint. Reduce how much you use, reuse what you can and recycle what you can. For anything that must be disposed of, do so in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

The great thing about living by the three Rs is that you'll find you'll be saving money for yourself and for your place of work. Here are some ideas to get you started:

- Buy permanent items instead of disposables
- Buy and use only what you need
- Choose products that use minimal, or recycled, packaging
- Check the backs of products for toxins
- Ride your bike or walk if it's practical, especially for round trips of less than two miles.

- Try repairing items before you replace them
- Use durable coffee mugs rather than single use cups
- Save shipping and packaging boxes to use again rather than buying new ones
- Reuse your grocery bags or buy reusable cloth bags (many stores give a five cent credit per reusable bag you bring)
- If you're getting rid of an item that is still usable, donate it to a charity or post it on a site like or www.

- Recycle paper (printer paper, newspapers, mail, etc.), plastic, glass, cardboard and aluminum cans. Some offices at March collect cans and take them to a collection center, earning enough money to maintain their coffee fund.

- Recycle electronics though free mail-in services or drop off locations. Some retail stores will even give you money back if you relinquish your old item when you buy a new one.

- Be vigilant about taking all hazardous materials to the proper facilities for recycling and reuse

The base recycling facility is open every Wednesday from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and accepts a multitude of materials. Common items collected and recycled include wood, pallets, metal, cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard. They also collect items you may not normally think of as recyclable, such as toner cartridges, batteries, fluorescent lights, cell phones, electronics, televisions and computer monitors.

Each item that is recycled is one more thing that's diverted from the landfill and that's good for the base and good for our environment.