Face of Defense: Soldier Starts Recycling Effort in Iraq
By Army Sgt. Joshua Risner
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Aug. 6, 2009 The Army teaches soldiers to leave a place better than they found it. One soldier has applied this adage to the Multinational Division Baghdad area of operations by thinking “green.”
Army Sgt. Tanisha Manning, with 1st Cavalry Division’s Company B, Division Special Troops Battalion, has started a recycling initiative at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
"It's about saving money [and] helping the environment, and it's part of a responsible drawdown, because we want to leave this place better than we found it," the New York native said. "I started this about two months ago, and it's just now getting off the ground and totally on the move."
A recycling program was in place on Camp Liberty before, Manning said, but it wasn't getting much attention.
"I thought to myself, 'We drink so much water, we use so much water, and we throw away so many plastic bottles; what are we doing?'" she said.
Manning decided to take action. She formulated a plan, made contacts, and helped to publish an order on the subject.
"When I found Sergeant Manning in [division supply], she inspired me to do something about the recycling situation here on [Camp] Liberty," said Army Maj. Mindy Kimball, with 1st Cavalry Division’s Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion.. "The bottom line is that the landfill on [the complex] is near capacity and can't possibly last through 2011 with the current rate of solid waste disposal."
With the assistance of a contracting organization in Iraq and Kuwait, Manning’s plan came to fruition. A partnership enabled the company to come onto the complex and take materials away for recycling.
Now, blue recycling bins are in place throughout the complex and the Multinational Division Baghdad area.
"It's important that we use these recycling bins -- it's too easy," Manning said. "Everybody on [the complex], at least, has a point of contact for recycling."
Manning explained that the bins are vital to the recycling program.
"When I went out to the recycling facility, they were picking through the garbage, looking for recyclables," she said. "So it's important for us to separate the recyclables out beforehand to make it easier on them."
Kimball noted recycling is every soldier’s responsibility. "The Army's policy is very clear -- it doesn't say 'try' or 'should' [recycle], it says 'will,'" she said. "But unless every soldier and leader enforces it, then nothing will get done, and nobody can enforce policies they don't know about."
Thanks in part to Manning’s efforts, soldiers now can recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, printer cartridges and cardboard easily.
(Army Sgt. Joshua Risner serves in the Multinational Baghdad public affairs office.)