The noise from the convoy of trucks is deafening as their massive tyres rumble along the stretch of sand-covered asphalt. Either side of the road, the arid desert stretches as far as the eye can see. The only splash of colour in this setting are the green almost pitiful looking bushes dotted along the wayside. The road in front of the vehicles shimmers in the hot desert air. And then, out of nowhere, a fence – several metres high – can be seen through the haze. The lorries continue to head straight towards the fence without changing their speed. As they get closer, it becomes clear that a gate has been built into the fence – a gate that stretches across the road and is covered in barbed wire. Two people in army uniform are in front of it standing guard.
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The vehicle leading the convoy reaches the gate. One of the guards approaches the side of the truck with their gun slung over their shoulder. Soon after, the metal gate opens up enabling the convoy to drive onto the site – obviously a military base. One after another, the vehicles make their way through the entrance. One of the trucks, though, stands out from the others as it is clearly not a military vehicle. It doesn’t have a mounted machine gun on its roof nor is its cargo area covered in tarpaulin. Instead, it has several different-sized bins and containers on its trailer.
The lorry sandwiched between the military vehicles on this US military base in the middle of a desert is a standard refuse collection truck. And the man behind the wheel is not a soldier but a civilian. A civilian on an important mission. His task is to pick up a range of hazardous wastes. Not ammunition or weapons but general hazardous materials that are generated at a military base as part of its everyday work. And the volumes are not small at a self-sufficient camp such as this one with its own workshop, field hospital and all the other facilities needed to provide the soldiers with what they need. The materials range from standard workshop waste (such as coolants, solvents and oil-contaminated materials), to batteries, lye and acids, all the way through to medical waste.
Military bases are high security areas. It makes sense, therefore, that they want to have as few external firms working there as possible and select waste management businesses that can offer a full range of services.
Even if the list of hazardous wastes that need to be handled are standard materials, the job the employee has to do is certainly not a standard everyday task. After all, the base is located in an area of conflict, which makes the journey to and from the camp in the company of military guards an adventurous undertaking. It also has an impact on the way the waste materials are actually handled. The aim of this particular contract is for all of the hazardous materials generated at the camp to be picked up in one go so that the gaps between these high-risk and logistically complex trips are as long as possible.
The fact that REMONDIS is able to do this is one of its biggest advantages and one of the reasons why the US Army has opted to work with it at many of its bases around the world. What’s more: sustainability is playing an ever greater role at the international military bases when it comes to waste management. Which is why it is important for those responsible to collaborate with a service provider that is not only able to dispose of non-recyclable waste but also recovers recyclable materials wherever possible so that they can be reused. And what better partner to have at their side in the battle against the waste of resources and environmental pollution than REMONDIS?
REMONDIS Industrie Service’s International Sales division is based in the German town of Herne and has its own specialist department dedicated to serving its military customers abroad. This Military Service department coordinates the waste management projects for the US armed forces and multi-national troops (e.g. ISAF and KFOR) – projects that currently span 13 different countries. And the work provided reflects REMONDIS’ high recycling expectations. Their portfolio of services ranges from taking samples and performing chemical analyses, to sorting, packing and transporting the materials, all the way through to treating them in REMONDIS’ own plants and facilities. What is particularly important here is our well-functioning, cross-border logistics network that allows us to transport the freight in line with ADR and IMDG rules and regulations. On the roads, on the railways and on the sea.
Whether it be a permanent base or a military exercise – we handle the hazardous waste and all other types of waste on behalf of the armed forces
The military is just one of many sectors that REMONDIS Industrie Service delivers its specialist services to.
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