Frank McDonald wrote an interesting article recently in The Irish Times about recent waste management initiatives in the Defence Forces.
(Waste Management is one of our core Environmental Management training courses hence why I was interested).
McDonald wrote: The Defence Forces have gone green by recycling up to 70 per cent of the waste they generate, slashing the volume going to landfill by more than three-quarters over the past eight years from 6,000 to 1,300 tonnes annually.
The cost of dealing with waste has also dropped dramatically, from €1.3 million in 2002 to an estimated €450,000 this year – largely as a result of switching from 16 local waste disposal contracts to a single fixed-price contract, tendered every three years.
Led by director of engineering Col Jim Foley, the effort to save money was spurred by increasing landfill charges in 2003/2004.
“That’s when we took the bull by the horns,” he said. Asked if changing the culture was the most difficult task, he replied: “Absolutely”.
The Defence Forces’ waste management campaign has involved the appointment of barracks waste management managers and teams, training of personnel and the installation of smart bins and compactor skips – and regular reminders.
Recycling is being extended to include composting for all kitchen waste in the nine largest barracks, including Cathal Brugha and McKee in Dublin and The Curragh. There are also annual inspections and awards – and “follow up action” in relation to poor performers.
Fair dues to the Defence Forces for their march on waste.