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James Vugrich, recycling center manager, stands next to new shipping containers at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Dec. 12, 2013. These containers protect recycled materials from the elements so they can be sold. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrea Posey)
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Recycling center conserves energy at Hurlburt

Posted 12/17/2013   Updated 12/17/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Andrea Posey
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

12/17/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.  -- The recycling center here recently won the Air Commandos Conserving Energy Award.

The award highlights an individual or team who has gone above and beyond to save time, money and resources at Hurlburt Field.

The recycling center was established in January 1991. That year, they processed 116,570 pounds of recycled material and made $5,513, according to James Vugrich, recycling center manager.

In 2012, they processed 1,510,054 pounds of recyclable material and earned $226,130. That's a difference of $220,617 from 1991 to today, according to Vugrich.

"The benefit of the recycling center here is that it's self-efficient, paying for its employees' wages and machinery to update the center," he said. "It doesn't cost the Air Force to have us on base."

The center has seven employees including managers, welders, and machine and vehicle operators.

The Air Force is required to recycle, according to Air Force Instruction 32-7001 "Environmental Management."

If Hurlburt didn't have the recycling center on base, the Air Force would have to pay an outside source to come in and recycle materials, according to Vugrich. Instead, the center on base sells recyclable goods to companies to make money.

"I think the center's beneficial because the recycled goods are being diverted and kept out of landfills," said William Cordell, a 12-year recycling center employee.

The center recycles cardboard, paper, metal, wires, batteries, printer cartridges, cell phones and plastic.

Used cardboard is transformed into new cardboard. White paper goes to a de-inking mill and is made into new white paper, and mixed paper is made into tissue and ceiling tiles.

For more information on recycling, call the recycling center at (850) 884-7577.

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