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Recycle, reuse and renew: Maxwell’s composting facility

Recycle, reuse and renew: Maxwell’s composting facility

The composting facility on Maxwell, provides landscaping materials from composted items throughout the bases. Compost, fill dirt, wood chips, firewood and used pallets are just a few of the recycled items that are available to anyone with base access. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Dead trees, broken limbs and bushes are given a second life here by becoming the main ingredient in compost.

The 42nd Maintenance Support Group runs a composting site on the north end of the flight line. The composting site came into operation in 1993, and has not ceased in providing the installation and the base populous help with growing their shrubs and tomatoes.

“The materials that are used to make the compost are the natural waste materials that are produced during our grounds maintenance operations on base,” said Billy Rogers, 42nd Civil Engineer Squadron grounds chief.

The compost comes from a combination of leaves, branches, pine straw, cones and trees.  

These natural waste materials are moved from the project site to the compost site. 

Once at the compost site, they are loaded into a commercial wood chipper and those wood chip remains are placed in rows for aging and decomposition. It takes about six to nine months to make a rich decomposed soil, Rogers said.

Individuals who do come to get the soil for their gardens, tell the workers how much their gardens are thriving.

In addition to using the natural waste materials, facility workers also break down non-chemical treated pallets to go into compost piles.

However, some pallets are spared for individuals, with base access, who may need them.

“The main purpose of our operation is to provide the base with landscaping materials,” Rogers said. “These materials, compost and wood chippings, are used all over the base, and provide an eye appealing landscape.”

The money Maxwell-Gunter saves piles up not only from creating its own top soil, but one other way also:

“It saves both bases a significant amount of money in off-base dumping fees,” Rogers said. “If we did not recycle, the natural waste materials would have to go to an off-base dump site.”

At the moment, the site is not open due to a massive clean-up that the crew has been working on for the past few weeks. They plan to have it re-opened to base populous by the beginning of April.

When the facility does open its gates again, the base populous and those with base access can obtain compost, fill dirt, wood chips, firewood and used pallets. Any material received is strictly for personal use only, and should not be distributed for financial gain.

Their hours will be: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. During these open hours, the facility has the capability to load materials onto customers’ trailers, trucks or into containers.

For more information, view their Operating Instructions, or contact the Compost Facility directly, at 334-782-9585.