Team Misawa recycling center thinks green

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

In Japan, recycling is a priority and is obvious by the many trash cans designated for plastic, paper and metals. The bond with our host nation has grown over time and so have our efforts in recycling.

The Misawa Air Base recycling center is having an Earth Day kick-off April 17, at the Base Exchange, to continue increasing residential recycling participation. Currently the base is at a 31 percent recycling rate, with a goal of 65 percent by 2020.

Hajime Sasaki, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron recycling center manager, explained due to economic circumstances cutting more and more of Japan’s supplies, a recycling law was enforced to collect items like metals and plastics.

“In Japan, we are a small country and therefore we don’t have a lot of space for landfills,” Sasaki said. “Even if we did have a lot of landfill space, it would be more costly to use them than it is to recycle for raw materials.”

According to The Guardian, “Japan streets ahead in global plastic recycling race," the country recycled approximately 6.9 million tons of trash during 2006, and of that amount, approximately 4.8 million tons were use to make various industrial items.

This earth-friendly habit requires consistent work and Misawa does its best to contribute to the cause. In 2016, the base alone provided 1,977 tons of trash to be salvaged for raw materials through its recycling program.

“We can reuse aluminum cans over and over again,” Sasaki said. “Cans last longer than me, and recycling one saves enough energy to watch television for two hours.”

According to recycling-guide.org it’s proven that recycling helps reduce the greenhouse gasses and harmful chemicals released from rubbish.

“Recycling is important for the world,” Sasaki said. “One ton of paper or cardboard recycled saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 460 gallons of fuel and 580 pounds of air pollution.”

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Mace, the 35th CES recycling center NCO in charge, said he believes the recycling program established on base will be a positive impact on the local residents, and in turn build on the U.S. and Japan relationship.

“This program is one of many allowing us to engage in dialogue and build partnerships,” Mace said. “The recycling program perfectly embodies the bilateral mission between our two countries--communication must be consistent and participation must be promoted.”

For more information about the upcoming Earth Day events or how to contribute to the cause, call the recycling center at DSN: 226-5446.