Hazardous waste solution crushes time and cost for IDANG

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Becky Vanshur
  • 124th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
GOWEN FIELD, Idaho - Aerosol cans are hazardous waste material, however, recently the Idaho Air National Guard Environmental Management System (eMS) has found a way to recycle these cans to save time and money.

The giant red aerosol can crusher was installed in early May to the Environmental Office and the 124th Civil Engineering Squadron (CES) hazardous waste team has been using it ever since.

Once the crushing machine punctures an aerosol can, drains the hazardous liquid into a bucket and crushes it, the can becomes exempt from hazardous waste regulations and can be recycled; leaving only a tiny amount of hazardous waste liquid from each can, instead of the entire can being hazardous.

"We had to find a way to puncture the aerosol cans so they could be recycled. We tried a hand-operated aerosol can crusher, but it took over a minute per can to puncture and drain...also, it was very messy," said Senior Airman Heidi Caye, Environmental Protection Specialist.

"After identifying a couple of puncturing machines, I obtained a market research quote. I placed a bid with contracting using annual funds and we were able to get the aerosol can crusher," Caye said.

"I am estimating that we will save at least $3,000 a year using this machine, making it a less than five year pay back time from the cost to purchase it," she added.

The crushed cans generate a small amount of hazardous liquid, it takes approximately two years to fill a bucket for disposal. The installation receives money for recycling the crushed cans via contractor, and the Qualified Recycling Program manages those funds.
"Really, this is a win-win-win-win. The Idaho Air National Guard reduces its hazardous waste generation, as part of the eMS. It increases recycling, continues proper management of waste at the shop-level, and employs team work with several organizations to purchase and utilize the machine," said Caye.

The eMS, with the Idaho National Guard Environmental Policy, sets high standards, according to Maj. James Hawkes, from 124th CES. The 124th CES and the Idaho Air National Guard are committed to pollution prevention by using environmental management procedures to improve environmental performance.

"The crusher helps with the overall picture of the Environmental Management System's standpoint and reduces our liability to hazardous waste," said Master Sgt. Robert McGarvie from 124th Fighter Wing Bioenvironmental Engineering.