Fort Belvoir’s recycling program, and the recycling center on Pohick Road, have ceased operations as of today. According to Brad Britain, director of Fort Belvoir’s Directorate of Public Works. The Garrison’s recycling and refuse disposal is no longer available to unit partners, although for residents of on-post housing, all trash and recycling pick-up remains unchanged.
“The purchasing of recyclables has nearly stopped,” said Britain. International customers have stopped buying cardboard and we saw a marked decrease in payments – less and less over the years. In terms of expenditures, it’s about 600 to 700,000 dollars a year to recycle and we’ve been recuperating less than a third of that.”
That was the principal reason behind the Garrison’s decision, according to Dr. John Moeller, deputy to the Garrison commander.
“The decision to discontinue recycling on Fort Belvoir was a difficult one. Unfortunately, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir is facing budget challenges, forcing us to make tough choices,” Moeller said. “Eliminating the recycling and composting programs on Fort Belvoir will save us almost $1 million dollars a year. These two programs are not required by the Army, so we are trying to focus our resources on those services and programs that we are required to provide, while possibly eliminating those services and programs which are not required. I also need to stress that this decision does not impact the residential recycling program, which is managed by our housing partner.”
Compost yard removed
The large composting site behind the Recycling Center is also closed, which means that it no longer accepts yard waste, according to Vijay Ivatury, the solid waste and recycling program manager of DPW’s Operations and Maintenance Division.
“We used to collect yard waste from all tenant facilities and residential areas. We would turn it into mulch, but it comes down to a cost savings,” Ivatury said. “It all comes to about $8,000 a month for the mulch creation,” adding that more work has to be done to return the mulch yard to a condition to be abandoned.
“Also, all previously recyclable materials, including white paper, mixed paper, cardboard, cans, toner cartridges, lead acid batteries, and glass won’t be picked up from office buildings,” he said. All those items, except toner cartridges and lead acid batteries, can be disposed of in the trash. Britain said that toner cartridges can be returned to the manufacturer, and lead acid batteries can go to the Lorton landfill or the I-66 Transfer Station in Fairfax, for a fee.
Britain said that some trash costs will continue to be offset, as the Garrison changes the stream to the waste to energy plant, which reduces the burden on the local landfill, and as it is converted to energy, recoups more than 80% of the disposal costs, “Those costs go from $700,000 to about $100,000 a year,” he said.
The installation’s bulk waste site on 25th street, across from the Thrift Shop, has also closed. It had been the place for people to drop off bulk items, furniture, scrap metal, scrap wood, and heavy appliances.
The Recycling Center’s closing also stops a convenient spot for those PCSing to get their personal vehicle weighed for free. DPW has made arrangements with the Lorton Landfill and the I-66 Transfer station to provide this service for free, as long as driver brings an up-to-date military ID card and a copy of the PCS orders.
“Another change is we stopped collecting and disposing of tires,” Ivatury said. “They were able to bring their tires to us, and we would get rid of them, but that cost the Garrison $5,000 a month.”