SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --
Scott Air Force Base leadership announced recently that its Recycling Center, closed since May, will remain closed permanently in response to multiple instances of abuse and illegal dumping.
“Multiple people with base access, including contractors, have been abusing the Recycling Center by filling the bins and dumping outside the recycling containers with items that are clearly from their homes, used in a construction project, or are not recyclables,” said John Ahern, 375th Mission Support Group Deputy Director for Installation Support.
Ahern said people have been using the center as a place to dump items that cannot be recycled such as electronics, fluids, batteries, mattresses, Styrofoam, yard waste, household appliances such as refrigerators, construction debris, and household waste in violation of Illinois statute.
Scott AFB provides several convenient venues for on-base organizations to recycle and dispose of waste and housing residents have convenient curbside pickup courtesy of Hunt Corporation’s Scott Family housing. Ahern explained the recycling center was never intended for organizations from off-base nor off-base residents.
“The Recycling Center was intended to support recyclables generated on the installation and not for items generated off the installation,” Ahern said. “Regrettably, the Recycling Center had become a magnet for people to dump unapproved and non-recyclable waste that then becomes the base’s responsibility to clean-up and dispose at a significant cost to the government.”
Local communities are responsible for providing these services for their residents and businesses. Service provision varies by community and type of housing, but they are often a part of residents’ rent payment or collected by a separate municipal refuse and recycling collection fee. Similarly, Hunt Corporation and Scott Family Housing provides curbside recycling and waste disposal services for residents built into the rent.
In addition, many companies offer bulk waste pickup for items such as mattresses, furniture, appliances, outdated manufacturing equipment, heavy tools and electronic equipment.
“There is absolutely no change to the ability of base residents and employees to recycle approved materials,” he said. “All units have access to recycling bins throughout the base for recyclables generated as a result of their mission, and Hunt Housing provides bi-weekly curbside recycling for their residents, which is in fact a much more convenient method to recycling than having to transport items to the Recycling Center.
“Personnel with base access who reside off-installation should recycle in accordance with the policies of their community.”
Col. Leslie Maher, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, said it is regrettable the closure may inconvenience some well-meaning recyclers, but the abuse became too much.
“This is an issue of personal responsibility,” she said. “We provided this service for our on-base organizations and residents and asked those who used it to act appropriately in exchange. And while many people did, too many others abused it and turned it into a literal dump. That is simply unacceptable.”