Uncut wood, piles of scrap metals, large waste disposal bins and storage rooms packed tight with office furniture… this is what you can expect to find at the Vandenberg Recycling Center. While this may seem intimidating, for members at Vandenberg Air Force Base, the VRC can also be a treasure trove of goods and supplies waiting to be claimed by offices in need.
As part of the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron operations flight, the VRC operates under the watchful eyes of manager Lauren Sanders and alternate manager Dayle Russell, with the main function of recycling or re-using government materials and property that is no longer needed by units on base.
According to Sanders, the VRC is broken down into three main programs, scrap metal recycling, the wood re-use program and the office furniture re-use program.
The first main program, helps generate money that is used towards VAFB programs and activities, in addition to decreasing the overall disposal costs for scrap metals.
“The recycling program benefits the base by getting back some of what’s been invested in infrastructure,” said Sanders. “The bulk of what we get are either scraps left over from 30th CES shop repair jobs or from large renovation projects on base.”
This makes up the second and third main programs at the VRC, with a primary focus on saving the base money. Office furniture and supplies, as well as scrap wood can be brought to the VRC in any condition. These items will then be screened for potential re-use before being marked for disposal.
“Even though we’re not making money with the re-use programs, the cost-avoidance is huge,” Sanders said. “The cost to the base to empty a bin of standard wood waste is around $85 a ton and for treated wood waste it’s over $750 a ton, so the tonnage can add up real fast. For office furniture and supplies, the big thing is the replacement cost-avoidance of buying new items.”
By utilizing the recycling and government re-use programs, Sanders and the VRC are able to contribute towards a more efficient Air Force. Through these programs, the VRC can potentially save the base more than $1M a year through estimated disposal and replacement cost avoidance. However, the key to their success is building awareness for the benefits of using the VRC to get rid of and re-use government property.
“We want people to come to us first because any money we make from the scrap metal recycle program is benefitting the base and any office furniture and wood scrap that can be reused keeps it from going into a waste bin,” said Sanders. “If we can’t take the items, we can direct people to who can.”
For questions or more information about the VRC program call 605-0102 or 605-1143.