Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TAJI RECYCLES!!! (...but we really suck at it)

When I first arrived in Taji, five long months ago, there was no recycling, mainly because there was no recycling program. About three months ago there was a big push to promote recycling. Not everything, mind you, but at least plastic bottles (we go through thousands everyday) and aluminum cans.

Not much, but it's a start. Better late than never.

Posters went up, Powerpoint slides were on the computers, and bins were installed in the DFAC (dining facility). Taji was READY!

And that was it.

Three months later and still the only bins are at the DFAC. Granted, everyone eating there does recycle bottles and cans, but does it even make a dent? Not really. You see, most of the contents in the bottles and cans are consumed in workcenters and our rooms. Did they supply bins at our workcenters? No. Did they provide bins in our pods (section consisting of 36 trailers)? No. Well that's okay, I can fill-up a bag and drop it off at the DFAC. No, you can't. Nothing is allowed into the fenced-off DFAC area (no backpacks or purses, either - but people with guns are okay).

So, where do we stand? I'd guess maybe 20-25% of the used bottles and cans are being recycled. The rest go up with the rest of the trash into the burn pit. I wish I could change it, but the Army is calling the shots. No protests, no appealing. Their word is law. Do I wish we could do more? Of course. But in another year this base will be turned back over to the Iraqis. They'll inherit our renovated buildings, our new facilities, nice living quarters, and our trash.

I could get into a tirade on the money wasted here in Iraq, but that's the stuff for a different post.

Sleep well.

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