YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Base environmental officials are testing a new household hazardous waste program in a bid to separate aerosol cans and propane bottles from other trash.

Officials want to weigh the effort’s economic feasibility and environmental benefits, said Donna Collier, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight chief. If successful, permanent measures may be established for disposing of household hazardous waste.

“We do not have a central collection point for household hazardous waste,” Collier said. “Different items must be taken to different locations for disposal. For instance, fluorescent bulbs and U.S.-manufactured paint and cleaning supplies go to Self-Help, car batteries go to the AAFES garage, and antifreeze and car oils go to the Auto Skills Center. But we have no collection points at all for aerosol cans or small propane tanks.

“Therefore, we decided to start a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of collecting these items.”

From now through Dec. 11, residents are being asked to place empty cans of shaving cream, furniture polish, bug spray and other aerosol products in marked containers.

On the base’s west side, containers have been set up at apartment tower and housing unit garbage and recycling collection areas. All other community members may discard these items at the Pollution Prevention Center in Building 995 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each weekday.

“The primary objective is to collect as many aerosol cans and small propane tanks as possible,” Collier said. “We hope to use the collection statistics and customer-satisfaction surveys — which we’ll pass out at the completion of the pilot program — to determine if this program is effective and should be expanded.”

Yuki Inoue, the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron’s environmental quality and pollution prevention manager, thought of the idea to enhance the base’s mandatory recycling program and ensure garbage- contract employees’ safety, she added.

Problems off-base with garbage-compactor trucks also were factors in the project’s creation, Collier said.

“There have been a few accidents off base with aerosol cans exploding inside the garbage trucks when the trash is compacted,” she said. “Also, the aerosol cans have been exploding inside the incinerator during burning, damaging the inside walls of the incinerator.”

By isolating aerosol cans and propane bottles, she said, Yokota environmental officials hope to improve workers’ safety and ultimately reduce incinerator operation costs.

Call the base environmental office at DSN 225-9683 for more information about the trial program.

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