Earth Week: reduce, reuse, recycle
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Not enough people on Yokota Air Base know that they don't have to buy new cleaning chemicals, according to Beth Behr, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Management System Program Manager. Airmen and their families can take advantage of the Reuse Program through the Self Help store, where instead of buying new chemicals like cleaning items and pesticides, they can pick up a partially used bottle for free.
Raising awareness for environmentally friendly programs like Reuse was a small part of the push for environmental awareness during Yokota's Earth Week celebrations April 18-24 2015. This year, Earth Week brought together Airmen, children, and civilians to promote and celebrate the theme of "Reduce, reuse, and recycle." Earth Week was an entire week dedicated to "going green" through events, competitions, information and prizes.
A big part of this year's promoting environmental awareness was "Making people more aware of all the things they can recycle, which is a lot more than just the typical plastic and cans," said Sundae Knight, energy programs specialist with the 374th Civil Engineering Squadron.
A link found on the Yokota website provides a list of hazardous items which can be recycled and where: http://www.yokota.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-101123-001.pdf. Please dispose of the following household hazardous items as described below.
- Household batteries can be deposited outside the main BX and inside the Commissary at the Yokota Community Center.
- Auto batteries can be taken to the Base Exchange Garage, building 1293.
- Propane tanks issued by Army and Air Force Exchange Service gas stations can be taken to building 1294
- Auto oils, diesel, kerosene, antifreeze and oil filters can be taken to the Auto Skills Center, building 4086.
- Burned-out florescent bulbs can be exchanged for new bulbs at the Self Help store. Prior to being turned in, broken fluorescent bulbs should be contained in a way that avoids exposure to the mercury dust inside.
- There is no centralized collection point available for small propane bottles, gasoline, and charcoal lighter fluid. Call the base Environmental office at 225-5440 for proper disposal.
Knight headed up several of the week's festivities, including an art contest which took entries made from recycled items. Artworks were compiled of bits of plastic, discarded bottle caps, pieces of cardboard, styrofoam, old toys, bottles and more.
Recycling is not the only part of "going green," according to Behr. "You hear about recycling all the time, but reducing is ideally the best place to start."
It's the little things we can all do that add up to make an impact: turn the lights off when you leave, reuse water bottles, bike or walk to work to conserve fossil fuels and things like that.
Reducing was the idea behind several of the events of the week, including the Live Green event on April 18 at the YCC, where almost 400 reusable shopping bags were handed out. Carbon dioxide emissions were also reduced on the Bike or Walk to Work Day April 23.
On Arbor Day, April 23, a tree planting ceremony was held during which three new trees were planted near the Samurai Fitness Center.
"The ceremony was to raise awareness of trees and the important role they play here on Earth," said Staff Sgt. Marques E. Hobbs, engineer technician with the 374 CES. "I looked at the Tree Planting Ceremony as a great opportunity to exercise giving back to the community during Earth Week."
Tackling six events in one week was a challenge for the Earth Week team, but Knight said that participation was great, including 654 votes for the art contest winners.
"I am very excited to be able to reach out to so many people from so many different walks of life," Knight said.