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Repurposing chemicals, reducing waste

Repurposing chemicals, reducing waste

Dan Taylor, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron civilian contractor warehouse technician, processes material request forms at the Hazmart on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 12, 2017. The Hazmart is the centralized location for the Reuse Program where all the expired materials are gathered and stored before they are distributed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Repurposing chemicals, reducing waste

Expired hydraulic fluid sits in a storage locker at the Hazmart on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 12, 2017. One of the main criteria for these repurposed chemicals such as this is that they must be used on non-critical and non-tactical assets. Critical assets are defined as aircraft or lifesaving equipment and subsystems. Tactical assets are defined as weapons and its subsystems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Repurposing chemicals, reducing waste

Dan Taylor, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron civilian contractor warehouse technician, closes a chemical locker at the Hazmart on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Dec. 12, 2017. Materials like this are stored in separate lockers based on the type of material that they are. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- The terms reduce, reuse and repurpose are now being used for more than just paper, glass and plastic.

The 2nd Civil Engineering Squadron Environmental Management System team developed an innovative way to give hazardous materials an extended life through a Reuse Program to reduce the base’s environmental impact.

“The program’s goal is to not only reduce our environmental footprint, but save money,” said Roger Suiter, 2nd Civil Engineering Squadron hazardous materials manager. “We are able to cut down on the cost of new materials and the cost of disposing expired, but still viable materials.”

This reuse program is an evolution of a program that prevented household chemicals from going to waste by collecting used materials and finding other uses for them. The team was able to come up with a new version of the program to involve hazardous materials rather than just household chemicals.

“We noticed we had some materials that were being sent out through the waste disposal facility that were still good,” Suiter said. “In an effort to continually improve, we developed this system to be able to cut down on wasting those materials.”

Anyone can propose a material to be evaluated for possible reuse.

“If the material is still viable and you can still use it, we encourage you to use this program to do so,” Suiter said. “We want the waste disposal facility to be the last resort for any chemical.”

The reusability of a chemical is determined by four basic principles:

• The material must be used for non-critical or non-tactical purposes.

• The shop or facility must be authorized to use it.

• The shop supervisor has to approve its use.

• The material should be in good, usable condition.

If all criteria is met, Department of Defense form 2966, is affixed to identify the repurposed material.

“The approval and authorization process is followed to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Bill Lee, 2nd CES hazardous waste program manager. “We track the chemical to know who has it, whether they are cleared to use it and if they are using and storing it in the correct manner. Everything has to be cleared and authorized.”

Once a material has been approved for repurposing it is listed on the program’s SharePoint. The chemical’s list is published to inform all authorized users and potential users what is available.

“We are the first base to develop this database to show what we have available in real time,” Suiter said. “People see what is available, get authorized to have it, and then they come pick it up.”

The materials can be anything from adhesives to hydraulic fluids.

“For example, a grease used on aircraft or munitions is expired so you can no longer use it on those assets,” Lee said. “But that doesn’t mean that someone in the 2nd CES couldn’t grease a door with it to prevent it from seizing up. It’s viable grease, it’ll still do its job, it just can’t do it on an aircraft after that shelf life expiration.”

The program has been around since November 2017. No numerical data has yet been accounted for, but the impact of this program has been seen.

“We made goals to reduce the amount of waste we send out for disposal,” Lee said. “In direct relation, our hazardous waste numbers are down due to the implementation of this program.”

More data is expected to be obtained by the end of 2018.

“We look forward to seeing the progress of the program and how much it is going to positively impact Barksdale and our surrounding communities,” Suiter said.

For more information about the program or listed materials visit the program’s SharePoint or call 318-456-4694.