“We must strive to become systems thinkers if we are to benefit from the interrelationships of the triple bottom line of sustainability: mission, environment, and community” (sustainability.army.mil). Welcome to the Army strategy for the environment. As one of the largest organizations in America, the Army has joined the movement towards sustainability. With 4 available resources, 5 functional areas and 7 programs and implementation tools, the Army is surging forward with applying sustainability practices. The purpose of this work is to divulge into the Army’s P2, or Pollution Prevention program, as well as giving alternate suggestions on preventing waste.
Pollution Prevention (P2) is defined as the systematic effort to minimize, or eliminate altogether, process waste and other pollutants before that are generated (army.mil). P2 is a program that is just one tool to help achieve sustainability. This program can be applied to almost every aspect from field training, housing, family life, installation operations and munitions productions. To operationalize the P2 program, the Army has applied the basic principles of pollution prevention as well as developed the P2 hierarchy: reduce, reuse, recycle and dispose in an environmentally safe manner.
The first priority in the hierarchy is reduction. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) defines this as “Any practice which 1) reduces the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment (including fugitive emissions) prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal; and 2) reduces the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants, or contaminants. The term includes equipment or technology modifications, process or procedure modifications, reformulation or redesign of products, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training, or inventory control” (army.mil) In the P2 program, this definition is applied to the broad goal of reducing or eliminating the environmental impacts of consuming resources and the waste that is generated from it. This waste can come from Army vehicle maintenance such as oil changes or leaving computers and lights on at the end of the work day.
Reuse and recycle in hierarchy are meant for pollution that cannot be prevented. In this case, pollution should be treated in an environmentally safe manner whenever feasible. “The resources of a nation must be constantly managed: expanded then gathered, gathered then distributed each person or group sometimes gaining, sometimes losing, but always treated fairly and with respect.” (O’Toole, 1993, p. 108) For example, Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina has built an entire village out of materials recycled or diverted from the Fort Bragg landfill. This recycled “trash” village is used in training and preparing troops for deployment. If the first three actions cannot be...