KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Keesler's recycling center won the Environmental Hero Award, Recycler of the Year in the state or federal government category from the Mississippi Recycling Coalition Jan. 3. A formal announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m. today as part of the MRC Recycling Awareness Day at the state capitol in Jackson, Miss. The award will be presented to Keesler at a later date.
According to its website, www.msrecycles.org
, each year the Mississippi Recycling Coalition honors outstanding environmental efforts of organizations, businesses, schools and local governments around the State of Mississippi.
The MRC judges the nominees based on the following criteria: promotes recycling as a way to create a better community, conducts continuous recycling or environmental programs rather than a one-time project, practices and improves awareness of environmental stewardship and improves community waste handling and environmental practices.
Mark Williams, solid waste policy, planning and grants branch administrator of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said, "Keesler has had a strong recycling program for some time, but this year we felt they deserved the award."
Doug Smith, Zero Waste Solutions/Mark Dunning Industries project manager, said that winning the Environmental Hero Award shows all the progress the recycling center has made over the last two years.
"We've gone from a 20 percent to a 52 percent diversion rate," Smith said. "It takes all the individuals on Keesler to make this happen."
In fiscal year 2012, the recycling center recycled 2,383 tons of materials including 323.45 tons of food waste, a unique effort in south Mississippi. This effort saved $99,555.44 from going to landfills and resulted in $180,119 of revenue being returned to the base.
Smith also said his team looks for new items and ways to recycle every single day. The team's goal is a 75 percent diversion rate by 2015.