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Recycling meets mission goals

Directorate of Public Works

Published: 02:32PM January 11th, 2018
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“Material generated at Earthworks is free for unit use. All we ask in exchange is that units bring their yard waste to us for recycling.”

Jaimie Wharton

Earthworks, environmental scientist

Earthworks, the compost facility at closed Landfill 5 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, takes recycling seriously. It captures organic and inorganic waste generated on the installation and generates products for troop projects, such as compost, mulch, crushed asphalt and crushed concrete.

“Material generated at Earthworks is free for unit use,” said Jaimie Wharton, environmental scientist. “All we ask in exchange is that units bring their yard waste to us for recycling.”

JBLM diverts waste from landfills and produces recycled products for use in troop projects. There is no cost to units for Earthworks products.

In fiscal year 2017, 24,112 tons of organic waste was diverted to a cost benefit — including procurement costs — of $512,000, and 273 tons of inorganic waste was diverted at a cost savings of $219,000.

The mission at Earthworks is to preserve and enhance the environment by providing cost-effective composting of organic waste generated at JBLM and recycling of inorganic construction and demolition waste debris such as asphalt and concrete.

Compost on JBLM is composed of tree limbs, branches, leaves, brush, food waste and some grass and horse stable waste. LeMay, JBLM Waste Connections partner, collects all pre-consumer food waste from dining facilities five days a week, from the commissaries three days a week and brings it to Earthworks, where this ‘green’ is mixed with ‘brown’ ingredients in a recipe to balance the carbon to nitrogen levels.

It makes an earthy, sweet-smelling product that builds good soil structure, enables soil to retain nutrients, water and protects against drought. Projects that use compost include troop beautification, trenching, running trail maintenance and enhancing pride areas.

The recycling of inorganic construction and demolition materials produce recycled aggregate products such as crushed asphalt and crushed concrete.

These products are used for new construction projects such as Stryker tank trails, parking lots, backfill and road construction projects like road shouldering. The Lewis Army Museum parking lot utilized recycled asphalt product for paving in April of 2017.

Earthworks products are not available to the public. To obtain products, units must provide their own military or GSA vehicles for hauling the materials.

All material or disposal requests must be made at least one day in advance for approval and scheduling. For a material request form and to get scheduled, call Earthworks at 253-967-3803.

Keep up with the latest news from the Environmental Division on the SustainableJBLM/Facebook page.