One of the Largest Sanitation Network on the Planet
You probably have never thought of our service members as garbage men. The fact is the United States Navy is one of the most complex and most self-contained recycle centers. Think about it, when a ship deploys and all the sailors hug their loved ones goodbye not to see them for 6-9 months they may pull into an overseas port perhaps once every other month or so. A naval surface ship is essentially a filly functioning floating city. They have everything they need all onboard and do not get to resupply for months at a time. So what do they do with their trash?
Proper sorting and dumping of trash is vital and, if it is not done correctly, can become unsanitary, unhealthy and life-threatening for marine mammals and fish as well as the entire crew of the ship. The Navy is not just comprised of ships thought. They also have dozens of submarines which unlike their counterparts, so not get to pull into ports to dispose of their trash. On submarines every inch of space is vital; therefore every ration or supply is vital. Submarines do not usually get replenishments when they deploy, so whatever they take when they leave port is all they have for their entire tour. Whether you serve above or below the water, recycling is a main priority. Most ships have 2 different types of trash bins; blue for regular trash and a designated green one for recycle. All the trash gets collected every 8 hours and put in the trash disposal areas.
Several machines help these garbage men ensure a smooth process of getting rid of trash that is on board. A compressed melting unit melts plastics into discs that are placed in a tri-wall until the next underway replenishment transfers the discs to another ship for proper disposal on shore. For submarines those plastic discs they are simply store anywhere the crew can find. Large grinders take care of the food and paper waste, compressing those into cylinders and discharge it overboard, or “shoot” them since they are biodegradable. The marine life flourishes thanks to it the Navy’s systematic garbage system. For metal and glass there is a specific machine that shreds and compresses to optimize space. So the next time you see a sailor and thank those for their service know that they not only defend this great country but they are also experts when it comes to being garbage men and women.