COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The Defense Supply Center Columbus Environmental Division is focused on reducing solid waste diversion for the installation.
The installation minimizes solid waste generation through source reduction, recycling, reuse or composting.
“It’s important to do our part as an installation and individuals to reduce waste,” said Nicole Goicochea, DSCC lead environmental specialist. “Waste diversion not only reduces the burden on landfills, but it reduces costs. By diverting waste, disposal costs are decreased and when we shop smarter with waste diversion in mind, our personal financial costs are lowered as well as we aren’t wasting as much.”
The installation has a 100% shred policy
on all sensitive unclassified information to be destroyed upon completion of use. Although shredding isn’t where this process ends.
“Once the paper is shredded it’s pulped, bailed and then turned into paper products for reuse,” said Jack White, operations security program manager.
The Environmental Division has made it easy and convenient for associates to reduce waste and recycle.
Associates that utilize the breakroom recycling stations for newspaper, plastic and cans assist the installation in meeting its goals and helps the environment.
Associates that drink water throughout the day can bring in a reusable bottle and fill it up with filtered water at the EZ H20 water stations located throughout the installation. These fountains not only aid in eliminating waste from disposable plastic bottles, they also include a counter that displaces the number of diverted bottles from using that station.
Other ways associates can assist in reducing the waste footprint is by using electronic files in lieu of printed copies, and when necessary to print double-sided.
Children at the installation’s child development center also practice reducing waste. The center has recycling bins in each classroom and teachers incorporate reuse of materials into their lessons and projects.
Although waste reduction doesn’t stop onsite. Goicochea encourages associates to continue to look at ways to reduce and divert waste at home and provides tips to reduce environmental impact and improve waste diversion.
- Reduce waste – Practice recycling, composting, saying no to disposables and use reusable bags, bottles and containers.
- Conserve water – Turn off faucets when not in use, take shorter showers and avoid unnecessary water consumption.
- Save energy – Turn off appliances when not in use and switch to energy saving bulbs.
Goicochea says another way is to decrease food waste. Suggestions include planning out meals weekly and writing down ingredient quantities before shopping to avoid over purchasing. Buy only what you need, especially for perishable items such as fruits, vegetables and meats. Remember that bulk isn’t always cheaper if the items aren’t being consumed. Only buy what your family can eat. With that in mind, when cooking, portions should not exceed what the family can consumer in a week or less. Her last recommendation was to not toss everything once the best buy date has past.
“It’s important to understand the commonly used phrases on products, as most often items are still perfectly safe after the best buy date,” Goicochea said.
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 30-40% of the food supply is lost or wasted due to confusion about the meaning of dates displayed on the label.
The USDA website states that there are no uniform or universally accepted descriptions used on food labels for open dating in the United States although the most common are:
- A "Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.
- A “Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below.
- A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.