How Fort Drum doubled its recycling and what it means to you

Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 10:35 AM EDT
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - From 2019 to 2020, Fort Drum doubled the amount of material it recycled. A big reason for the jump is the post recycled something that you and I would not.

When you think of recycling, you imagine crews collecting bottles, cans and cardboard.

For 5 years, Fort Drum has offered single-stream recycling, instead of making people separate plastic from glass. That’s part of the reason recycling is working on post..

But, we noticed Fort Drum’s recycling of solid waste doubled from 2019 to 2020, going from 2,400 tons to almost 5,000 tons. What it recycled isn’t something you and I would throw in our recycle bins.

“With the state, you are allowed to used what’s called a beneficial use determination. So, all of the stone that was removed from the railhead project - instead of sending that to the landfill for disposal - you get approval from New York State DEC and we can actually use that stone,” said Ian Crawford, chief, Public Works Environmental Division Compliance Department.

Crawford says Fort Drum took the stone from around and under the railhead and, with the state’s okay, put it on an artillery range on post.

“We look at all of our projects whether it be construction or demolition debris and try to divert as much as we can from the landfill,” said Crawford.

Why is this recycling effort on post important? It helps to extend the life of the regional landfill in the town of Rodman

“It’s better for the life of the landfill and it’s better for the environment and it’s better for the community,” said

Laurie Marr, Development Authority of the North Country.

She adds that Fort Drum’s effort to recycle is helping DANC’s mission.

“If we can have such a large segment of our community, like Fort Drum, helping us with that recycling education and encouraging their community members to recycle as much as possible, it has a huge impact on the landfill,” she said.

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