CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — Lance Cpl. Matthew S. Belk, a motor vehicle mechanic with Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), came up with a plan to help his battalion save money in a combat zone through recycling.
Belk’s idea was to implement a system that function tests dead tactical-vehicle batteries. Under the new system, each spent battery that passes the function test is then re-charged and re-distributed throughout the battalion for use in their vehicle fleet.
“This is [Belk’s] brainstorm. He came up with the idea and [gathered all of the necessary equipment],” said Cpl. Edgar E. Aguilar, non-commissioned officer in-charge, CLB-4 Hazardous Waste Accumulation Point, Support Co. “The program has saved [CLB-4] over $120,000 so far on purchasing new batteries.”
Prior to the implementation of the recycling program, all dead batteries were delivered to the Camp Leatherneck Hazardous Waste Accumulation Point Office for proper disposal, said Aguilar.
“The value of the program is that it saves money for the battalion,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Troy C. Havard, maintenance officer, Support Co., CLB-4. “It is also friendly to the environment since it keeps us from having to dispose of the batteries.”
The battalion’s motor transportation Marines now deliver expended batteries to the CLB-4 Hazardous Waste Accumulation Point, but instead of disposing of them, the batteries are given new life. The drained batteries are examined for visible defects, and if found to be in good condition, they are recharged by one of the two charging systems, said Aguilar.
Belk said the battalion’s maintenance Marines had battery chargers they used to test batteries on tactical vehicles when they came in for maintenance work.
“I used to work in the maintenance bay,” added Belk. “I knew they had them, and I knew we could use them [at the CLB-4 Hazardous Waste Accumulation Point] for a recycling program.”
According to Aguilar, the CLB-4 Hazardous Waste Accumulation Point Marines ensure the re-energized batteries maintain their charge by testing them for proper function before distributing them for use in the battalion’s fleet of vehicles.
“We measure the voltage of the batteries after they have been charged … if they meet a certain requirement, we separate them and leave them for a day,” said Belk. “I measure them after that, and if they are still holding the charge, they are good to go.”
Batteries that do not properly maintain a charge are delivered to the Camp Leatherneck Hazardous Waste Accumulation Point Management Office for disposal, said Belk.
Belk’s recycling program not only saves the battalion money and helps the environment, but provides a good example for other Marines.
“The battery recycling program is a shining example,” said Havard. “No one told them to get it done. They recognized the need for the program, identified what it took to put [the recycling program] into place and implemented it.”