AFREP: turning trash to treasure for Green in 19
By Airman 1st Class Whitney Laine, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 21, 2019
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The 92nd Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program is ran by Airmen who take pride in contributing to the “Green in 19” initiative by restoring what would be waste into money-saving treasure.
These professionals are a select group of Air Force experts who use their wide-range of skills and resources to tinker with assets that would otherwise be tossed away, giving other Air Force units the chance to save time and money.
“Our primary job is to repair KC-135 Stratotanker parts and expendable assets which would be disposed of otherwise,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyler Ferris, 92nd MXG AFREP technician. “Recently, we have established a new process to complete LCD monitor repairs and recharge ink cartridges.”
AFREP has collected desktop monitors from across the base to repair and distribute back into office workstations. Each one cuts costs, time and doesn’t add to a growing pile of electronic waste that is a growing ecological issue in an ever-more technological world.
“This capability allows us to save time by keeping the repairs in-house and using our equipment to its full capacity, mitigating Fairchild’s ecological footprint of electronic waste,” Ferris said.
Electronics are made from valuable resources and materials including metals, plastics, and glass--all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling materials conserves natural resources, avoids land and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions caused by manufacturing virgin materials, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The AFREP team has implemented other environmentally-friendly practices like recharging printer ink cartridges to mitigate the many adverse effects of just throwing them away. Like electronics, ink possesses volatile compounds and heavy metals that will likely pollute the soil and water when they reach landfills.
“We were able to make a costly and wasteful process environmentally-friendly and very simple by building a machine to refill empty ink cartridges,” Ferris said. “Each recharged cartridge filled is one less that would be sent to be melted and recycled, in-turn, saving the base thousands annually by avoiding the cost of off-base recycling and cutting down on air and land pollution.”
“Green in 19” was implemented to establish new, innovative ways of environmental stewardship and Team Fairchild’s AFREP team displays how the Air Force culture is adapting to an ever-changing world.
“Being one of the few AFREP shops in Air Mobility Command with only two years of establishment has allowed us to set station-specific guidance,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Gavin Douglas, 92nd MXG AFREP manager. “Our programs’ development has offered us flexibility to create, grow and make changes to contribute to the bases’ ‘Green in 19’ initiatives.”
Inspiring innovation is integral to the “Green in 19” movement. Team Fairchild and the Air Force have dedicated themselves to use base diversity to empower Airmen to conserve energy and steward the environment.