As part of its Pollution Protection Program, Wright-Patterson was looking for ways to remove as much as possible from the solid waste stream. According to Martin Nicodemus of the base’s Environmental Management Division, “Recycling is a major part of that program because it saves valuable landfill space.”
The base began participating in the Armstrong Ceiling Recycling Program in 2003, and as part of an initial demonstration project, recycled 128,000 square feet of old ceiling tiles from the demolition of an old training facility.
More importantly, the environmental and cost-saving benefits resulting from the project eventually led to an expansion of the program to the point where ceiling recycling is now standard procedure for all renovation and demolition projects at the base. Since it initiated the program, the base has recycled 1.17 million square feet of old ceiling tiles.
According to Nicodemus, the key to initiating a ceiling recycling program is convincing the owner it is environmentally worthwhile, economically cost effective, and can be implemented successfully.
“From an environmental point of view, it is definitely worthwhile,” he says. “Not only does it save landfill space, but because the old ceilings are used to manufacture new ceilings, less natural resources are required during production.
“From an economic point of view,” he continues, “recycling can be less costly than dumping because it eliminates tipping fees, dumpster costs, and the expense of transporting the tiles to the landfill.”
As an example, Nicodemus estimates the base saved nearly $4,800 in solid waste transportation and disposal fees as part of the initial ceiling recycling project.
“And, as far as being able to implement the program successfully, I think the fact that we’ve been able to recycle a million square feet of old ceiling tiles over the last few years proves that point.”