Robins wins top environmental award

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 24, 2013 

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE -- For the first time Robins is the winner of the Department of Defense’s top environmental award for industrial bases.

Numerous initiatives contributed to winning the 2012 Environmental Quality Award, said Bob Sargent, Robins Air Force Base’s natural resource manager. But one of the most important is the recycling program. The base installed a recycling center last summer that has contributed to diverting 53 percent of its solid waste from the Houston County landfill.

“We had high hopes for it, but we didn’t know how successful it was going to be,” he said as he stood in front of the recycling center Wednesday.

The center, located behind the base exchange, allows for recycling of items that aren’t ordinarily taken at other recycling locations, including printer cartridges and steel cans. The center contributed to recycling 2,000 tons of materials, which generated nearly $1 million in revenue for the base.

The Department of Defense has given the award since 1962.

Other environmental initiatives that helped win the award include the base’s partnership with the Macon Transit Authority, which saves 2,500 vehicle trips per month by bussing base employees from Macon. Robins also has the first industrial wastewater treatment facility in Georgia to win the National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ platinum award.

“This is a great accomplishment for Team Robins,” Col. Mitchel Butikofer, installation commander, said in a release. “We understand the importance of a healthy and safe environment and are committed to ensuring compliance with all environmental procedures.”

The base’s environmental programs are overseen by the 78th Civil Engineer Group’s Environmental Management Branch, but Sargent said credit for the award goes to personnel throughout the base.

“We are very excited because if you looked over the criteria for this award, unlike some of the others which focus on individual program areas like restoration and natural resources, this one is comprehensive,” he said. “It covers all aspects of environmental. It’s a pat on the back that we are doing the right things for the entire scope of environmental programs.”

The base was informed last week it has won the award and will accept it in a ceremony at the Pentagon later this year.

The base had earlier won the Air Force environmental award competing against six other industrial bases and for the Department of Defense honor competed with the winners from other branches, including the Army, Navy, Marines and the Defense Logistics Agency.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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