Fort Bliss Recycling Hero Awarded America Recycles Day Award On Veteran’s Day; Fort Bliss to Reach Net Zero Waste by 2020

EL PASO, Texas (Nov. 11, 2019) – To kick off the annual Keep America Beautiful® America Recycles Day® celebration, national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful joined Fort Bliss Recycling Heroes to recognize individuals who have influenced the amount of solid waste on post, and continually strive to lessen Fort Bliss’ ‘carbon boot print.’

Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman presented the America Recycles Day Recycling Award to Terri Smythe, recycling project manager, Fort Bliss, as a new component of future America Recycles Day celebrations. The goal is to have the Fort Bliss Recycle Heroes program adopted by other U.S. Department of Defense facilities to promote and enhance Net Zero Waste initiatives and promote recycling throughout these facilities. America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful national program, takes place on and around Nov. 15.

During the program, the base recognized its 38 Recycling Heroes, with a special presentation recognizing Sgt. 1st Class George J. Johnson of the 5th Armored Brigade with an America Recycles Day Recycling Award. SFC Johnson proactively reached out to the Fort Bliss Recycling Program to make sure that his unit was compliant with the base’s recycling policy. Initially, he scheduled training for his unit, which then led to building assessments, and eventually the relocation of recycling bins to make them more accessible for his unit.

“Heroic acts are not so easily seen or acknowledged when they are everyday acts that benefit the greater good,” said Lowman. “We are so pleased to acknowledge these everyday acts, taken by the Fort Bliss Recycling Heroes. This campaign is a perfect example of rewarding good stewardship behavior by recognizing Fort Bliss for pursuing a Net Zero Waste future.”

One way the post helps identify recycling heroes is through their “Grand Challenge,” a monthly recycling competition modeled after incentivized programs at other Army installations. The Grand Challenge invites units to monitor their own day-to-day recycling and waste habits. Each quarter the top unit is selected to receive $3,000 and named the Grand Challenge winner. The winner is chosen based upon bi-weekly inspections, which award points for how well each unit is following the recycling program guidelines and sorting waste. Winning is not based on how much is recycled but based on recycling correctly.

“Today is a special time for our Recycling Heroes,” said Fort Bliss Recycling Project Manager Terri Smythe. “Keep America Beautiful and EPA have come together to recognize the hard work of our soldiers – not only for what they do every day, but also for those who take that extra step to make recycling part of our mission readiness at Fort Bliss.”

Fort Bliss, which launched the Recycling Heroes campaign in 2012, reached a more than 50% diversion rate in 2018. All profits from the recycling program are used to benefit the Fort Bliss community through its Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Program. The post uses the funds to resurface playgrounds, purchase exercise equipment, and improve the quality of life for everyone on base. Since the program began, a total of $4 million has been awarded through the MWR Program.

Fort Bliss was selected as a pilot installation to reach Net Zero Waste by 2020. The Net Zero Waste goal requires considering the waste stream when purchasing items, reducing the volume of packaging, reusing as much as possible, and recycling the rest.

Sponsors of this year’s America Recycles Day include Title Sponsor Cox Enterprises, as well as American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Coors Light, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Macerich, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Recycling Partnership (TRP) and Waste Management.

About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision.

Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. We empower generations of community and environmental stewards with volunteer programs, hands-on experiences, educational curricula, practical advice and other resources. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Donate and take action at kab.org.