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US military recycling sees explosive growth

United States – More than 400 tonnes of spent munition and remnants from target practice were collected at a single military base in California’s Mojave desert last year under the US Qualified Recycling Program (QRP).

Bullet casings and shell and bomb fragments recovered from a Marine Corps firing range were at the more exotic end of the 2500 tonnes of waste collected in total, the rest comprising regular household recyclables and hazardous materials such as oil, grease, paint and anti-freeze.

‘Everything that’s been shot at, shot up, blown up, that’s what we recycle in here,’ explained Jay Jones, team leader of the QRP Range Sustainment branch. ‘The marines themselves bring it in, plus we have contractors that go in and bring the bigger pieces of gear – the blown-up tanks, the airplanes.’

Explosives specialist Norman Troy added, ‘We make sure nothing is live. It’s once in a blue moon that something dangerous that might still explode ends up at the collection centre. If it does, then we call the explosives ordinance disposal.’

QRP was launched in 2000. All items are sorted, processed and recycled or sold to government-approved contractors, saving the base removal costs and netting the US Marines US$ 2.5 million in profit last year.

The base was also able to reduce the volume of hazardous waste shipped off-site by 192 tonnes compared with 2013.

Source: The Marine Corps Times

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