Continued Use Absorbents

Program Overview

The absorbent continued use program is designed to be a closed-loop system in which used absorbent materials are picked up by the vendor for cleaning and returned to the generating facility for reuse.  Before the absorbent continued use program was implemented, maintenance personnel used disposable absorbent items in daily maintenance activities.  Many of these materials were characterized as hazardous waste due to the presence of cadmium, a toxic metal commonly used in aircraft and aircraft components and was the largest waste stream disposed by Fort Rucker. 


DPW-ENRD petitioned ADEM for approval of the program, which was granted on 27 April 2005.  DPW-ENRD developed Work Instruction, ENV-SW009, for operation of the program, and the absorbent user’s organizations completed extensive implementation training. 


Items Included

The following items are available for use through the program:

§         Pads

§         Socks

§         Wipes

§         Mopheads

Program Operation

  1. Absorbent user (military, civilian, tenant and contractor) requests the quantity and type of absorbent needed. 
  2. Supplier delivers the absorbent order in Department of Transportation (DOT) approved containers. 
  3. User utilizes the absorbents in the daily maintenance functions and places the used absorbents into the supplier-provided DOT-approved drums. 
  4. Supplier picks up the drums and returns them to their facility for processing. Since the absorbents are delivered and returned in the same drum, additional packaging waste is not generated.  Each organization’s absorbents are segregated from other users and processed for continued use. 
  5. The cleaned absorbents are packaged into drums for return to Fort Rucker. 
  6. Once the absorbents are no longer usable for their original purpose, the absorbents are collected and manufactured into absorbent socks for use at Fort Rucker. 
  7. The closed-loop system is complete once the absorbents are returned to Fort Rucker.