Hanford cleanup leads to massive recycling

Hanford cleanup leads to massive recycling
Hanford DOE

Not everything that needs to be cleaned up at the Hanford site is radioactive and dangerous. Some of it is just the normal items used in offices and other facilities and that has led to a massive recycling effort.

In 2017, the Department of Energy and Hanford contractors diverted approximately 1,224 metric tons away from landfills, an amount representing 57 percent of the total nonhazardous waste. Nonhazardous solid waste includes plastic, cardboard, paper, wood, furniture, scrap metals, electronics, and tires.

Additionally, universal waste, including fluorescent light bulbs, batteries and other recyclable material such as aerosol cans are collected and sent to Hanford’s Centralized Consolidation/Recycling Center then sent offsite for recycling. In 2017, 154 metric tons of universal waste and other recyclable material was collected for recycling.

“Recycling is an important part of the cleanup mission at Hanford,” said Carly Nelson, environmental compliance officer with Mission Support Alliance. “Our success in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills is tied directly to workers across the site making a commitment to protect the environment. April is Earth Month, which is a good reminder for everyone to take a moment and think about how they can have a positive impact on the environment by making conscious recycling choices.”

Last year, Hanford workers gathered and recycled more than 1,220 pounds of expired or damaged hard hats. More than 950 pounds of hard hats have already been recycled this year.