'Reduce, reuse, recycle, reheat'
The Recycling Compound at RAF Coningsby provides a valuable role to the Station in providing greener opportunities for waste. It is one destination for material deemed as unserviceable.
Their role is to take recyclable printer ink and cartridges, wood, metal, rubber, general waste that will not go into domestic bins and waste electronic and electrical equipment. Then, they separate the items and recycle them as appropriate.
Rubber from both vehicle and aircraft tyres can be recycled and reused. They will be used in roads or playground flooring. When you next take your children to the park, feel the ground - you could be touching a recycled tyre from a Typhoon!
Fun fact: A Typhoon nose wheel weighs 10kg and the main tyre weighs 25kg!
RAF Coningsby is also looking into a greener initiative called pyrolysis, which is a method of energy recovery from recycling the tyres, generating heat and electricity.
The Compound breaks down larger items to segregate different materials wherever possible to help optimise Whole Force recycling. They play a large part in educating the Station on waste management; how to reuse, reduce and recycle efficiently. The larger role they play in this is that all 3000 personnel at RAF Coningsby now have a greener way of thinking to proactively recycle and separate waste properly. These skills will then be transferred in to personnel's lives at home which will aid the environment.
Many people may think, how does the Recycling Compound impact the Typhoon? Well, storing the waste is also a tricky task, this is due to the risk of FOD (Foreign Object Debris/Damage) from escaped waste. The Recycling Compound has to make a conscious effort to store the waste safely and appropriately; a Typhoon engine full of recyclables would be catastrophic. I'm sure not many people can say they are supporting the Typhoon mission as well as the environment!
"We are helping to advise and educate our whole workforce on disposal routes and recycling possibilities, thus helping waste prevention which aids the environment and saves money. The knowledge that we are doing our bit to protect the public's purse makes the job worthwhile, especially during current times." - Mrs Lee
The team use ROROs, which is essentially a very large open top skip that has the capacity of 26.8 cubic metres. Once these ROROs are full, they will organise exchange with the local authority, escorting them on and off base. Even when all ROROs are full, the team will continue to take waste and store it safely within the Compound to minimise the risk of FOD.
Another hazard is contamination, which the team monitor closely with the local authority. Did you know that TV's and computer monitors are considered hazardous waste?
The Compound compiles quarterly waste figures, with the last one indicating that 70.41% of non-hazardous waste was sent for recycling or re-use. The team are very proud of this figure and hope to improve it even further in the future.
One way they have demonstrated their recycling skills is in the form of creatively re-purposing materials. Earlier this year, a garden was created for the Logistics Squadron. Mr Hogg from the Recycling Compound and Mr Young from Reprographics, created planters for this garden by using unserviceable pallets from the Compound. The up-cycling of the wood is a great example of why reusing materials is not only good for the environment, but looks brilliant as well!
"Having already made planters within the Recycling Compound, we knew creating some for the Logistics Squadron garden would add to health and wellbeing for those that use the space. If Station personnel see what we managed to make from recycled materials, it may inspire others to re-purpose items that would otherwise be thrown away." -Mr Hogg
Not to mention that the bees will be thrilled with the lovely addition of flowers as well!