Small steps lead to lasting impact – MWR makes commitment to associates and the environment

By Dana Thornbury DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Social responsibility isn’t a passing fad for the Defense Supply Center Columbus Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division, it’s built into their foundation.

The division has continually met environmental regulatory standards and over the past decade exceeded those standards by hosting recycling and Shred Day events for associates. They also teach children how to garden, collect rainwater and recycle at the Child Development Center.

Shred Day at DSCC 2018 recycled over seven tons of paper.
DLA Installation Operations at Columbus Environmental Division 2018 Shred Day event resulted in 14,040 pounds recycled. The 2019 Shred Day event is scheduled for May 15. Associates may drive-up and drop-off personal documents for on-site shredding on their way into work. CD and data disk will be accepted and destroyed off-site.
Shred Day at DSCC 2018 recycled over seven tons of paper.
Shred Day 2018
DLA Installation Operations at Columbus Environmental Division 2018 Shred Day event resulted in 14,040 pounds recycled. The 2019 Shred Day event is scheduled for May 15. Associates may drive-up and drop-off personal documents for on-site shredding on their way into work. CD and data disk will be accepted and destroyed off-site.
Photo By: Dana Thornbury
VIRIN: 180419-D-HV615-001
“MWR is committed to improving our processes today for a better, cleaner and safer environment tomorrow,” MWR Marketing Manager Jennifer Russell said. “We’ve partnered with DLA Installation Operations at Columbus Environmental Division to identify ways we can be more eco-friendly in 2019 and beyond.”

On April 1, MWR rolled out their latest commitment to the workforce and environment - Eco Promises.

The Eco Promise campaign centers on a few key principles:

  • Reduce plastic and styrofoam usage across all MWR Programs.
  • Offer Eco-friendly options to our customers.
  • Develop pollinator and native prairie habitats on the installation.
  • Utilize solar chargers and renewable energy sources.
  • Offer eco-friendly giveaways and free workshops.
  • Manage food waste diversion and composting program at food service operations.
  • Utilize eco-friendly products to clean and landscape MWR facilities.
  • Maximize recycling efforts.

“Every year, we take a step back and look at our business to see what we can do better, how we can build brand equity, how we can make our customers feel good about doing business with us. Eco Promises helps us do all of those things,” MWR Chief Steve Coulson said. “We’re delighted to launch the program and committed to being good stewards of our resources.”

Throughout the year, associates may notice changes within the various MWR retail operations. Changes to expect include offering reusable retail bags rather than the plastic options previously used as well as more eco-friendly merchandise options such as 100 percent biodegradable latex balloons.

Some changes will take place behind the scenes. For instance, patrons of the MWR Fitness Center might not notice that the wipes have changed to a plant-based, naturally biodegradable option.

Associates will be able to attend more eco-focused MWR workshops in 2019 and receive Eco Promises giveaways such as reusable bags, notebooks, pens and magnets throughout the year. Each giveaway item lists the principle it represents, reinforcing MWR Eco Promises to associates.

April 9 is the first event, a Trash to Treasures Workshop. The workshop’s theme is “saving the planet, one crafty idea at a time” and will focus on reusing, repurposing and upcycling “stuff” with do-it-yourself projects that are targeted toward summer fun.

For associates looking to take a more active, hands-on role, there are volunteer options to assist the installation with its environmental commitment. Opportunities include:

  • Butterfly Club: The club would assist in counting the butterfly population during pre-arranged events and ensure the habitat remains in optimum condition through weeding, planting and adding puddlers on DSCC. Puddlers are shallow puddles designed as a drinking source for butterflies.

    “This club is important as pollinators are declining due to habitat loss and overuse of pesticides,” Environmental Specialist Nicole Goicochea said. “Monarch butterfly populations are only 10 percent of their 1990s populations. The Rusty Patch Bumble Bee and the Regal Fritillary are both endangered pollinators that once inhabited Franklin County.”

  • Bluebird Box Team: The team would be responsible for checking the boxes for intruders such as house sparrows and to help clean out the boxes at the end of the nesting season.

    “Bluebirds are threatened by loss of nesting habitat,” Goicochea said. “The Environmental Division is working with MWR and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to place Bluebird boxes on the Golf Course to supplement nesting sites.

  • MWR CDC Garden
    Children in the Kindergarten Preparatory classrooms at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Child Development Center plant their sensory and herb garden with the assistance of the DLA Installation Operations at Columbus Environmental Division. The garden is part of MWR’s Eco Promises campaign. Associates are able to volunteer through MWR as part of the CDC Garden Team to assist with the upkeep of the garden.
    MWR CDC Garden
    MWR CDC garden
    Children in the Kindergarten Preparatory classrooms at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Child Development Center plant their sensory and herb garden with the assistance of the DLA Installation Operations at Columbus Environmental Division. The garden is part of MWR’s Eco Promises campaign. Associates are able to volunteer through MWR as part of the CDC Garden Team to assist with the upkeep of the garden.
    Photo By: Dana Thornbury
    VIRIN: 170518-D-HV615-101
    CDC Garden Team: Each year, the children in the Kindergarten Preparatory classrooms plant a full sensory garden to include vegetables and plants. Throughout the year, the children are provided educational lessons around the garden and help with the upkeep, but they could use assistance. This is where the CDC Garden Team would provide support by weeding and helping maintain the MWR Child Development Center sensory gardens.

Associates interested in assisting with environmental projects such as the Butterfly Club, Bluebird Box Team, the CDC Garden Team or general interest can register online and select the appropriate categories. DLA associates may choose to use Wellness Program time to support the Eco-Helpers initiative.

Looking to the future, MWR plans to expand its Eco Promises program with continued plastic reduction, maximizing recycling efforts, and food waste diversion and composting.

“The Eco Promises program initiated here,” Russell said. “Although we would love to see other sites follow.”