09 April 2008

Trash Duty

By ET3 Tyler Kirkland

With the suggestion of a comment made, I am going to give you first hand info on how RUSSELL processes her garbage.

With marine life and ocean beauty conservation an integral part of the ship’s concerns, the way we process our garbage has evolved greatly since the days of the old DD’s.

About once a month, I get tagged with going down to the “PWP”, another one of our famous abbreviations, and it means “Plastic Waste Processing”, but the room isn’t only for plastic waste, but also pulpable and metals.

During certain scheduled, (and enforced), times of the day, Sailors can bring down their garbage.

Morning: Plastics
Afternoon: Metal and glass.
Night: Pulpables (paper, food, etc…)

So I go down this ladderwell into a space about 15’ long by 10’ wide. This room contains a plastic shredder, 2 plastic compressors, a metal shredder, and a huge pulper.

I’ll take the garbage for the time I’m down there, so for this example, lets say I’m working with plastics. I’ll empy the plastics into the shredder, and let it run for about 2 minutes, then take the shreds out of the bottom, and pour them into the compressor. The compressor takes about 30 minutes to run, but it basically takes all of the shreds, compresses them and melts them into a disk about 2’ across and 1” thick. Those disks are placed in holders in PWP until we pull into port or can transfer them to another ship for recycling.

The metal and glass are shredded and placed into burlap sacks for disposal over the side.

All aerosol cans, compressed air cans and anything contaminated with hazardous materials are set aside to be disposed of properly with other hazardous materials to a replenishment ship or once we are pierside.

The pulpables are poured into the “pulper”, which adds water, grinds and spins at a high rate of speed until it just becomes a diluted mush, and it’s processed over the side into the ocean.

I’ll be the first to tell you that it takes someone with their gag reflex in check to go down there and process waste. It can get pretty dirty and smelly, but it usually only lasts 2 hours a shift.

Everynight, PWP is cleaned from top to bottom with hoses, scrubbers, and swabs to control the smell and mold build up.

As a matter of fact, I’m just glancing at the schedule, and I’ll be down there tonight processing all of the food left over from dinnertime. Yum!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

XO,
What's going to happen to this wonderful blog after you leave the ship? Will your replacement take it over? I sure hope so!

Thanks for the great read!

-Jimbo

outdoorspro said...

ET3,

This is a great, though time-consuming advancement over the "old days". With the Navy's obsession over emptying the trash cans every single day, multiple times, we used to throw an obnoxious amount of garbage and plastic bags over the side. I was often disgusted with how many nearly empty bags went over each day (think the trash bags from every single space onboard).

I can imagine what a pain PWP must be, but it's much better than what we used to do.

Cdore-14 said...

Just found your site thanks to CDR Salamander. A lot more informative than the stuff CHINFO puts out. BZ.

"Dump all trash clear of the fantail" sounds much more complicated now than it did in my days.

Jason said...

Interesting read. Your comments on the health and beauty of the ocean did inspire one question though:

And early blog post mentioned a leisure activity in which sailors drove golf balls out into the ocean. How does the random distribution of balls of plastic and rubber mesh with the ship's conservation concerns?

David Axe said...

Best. Post. Ever.

Mike said...

XO,
Have you guys been outfitted with the newer Mod 1 PWP or still the original DDG 51 Class unit?

cat said...

Ugh, and I thought taking the trash out at my place was bad.. *shivers*. Sounds like the pit that everybody's thrown into in Star Wars. Ever find living things down there? Creeps! Have fun with that...
Cat

LCDR Chris van Avery, USN, Executive Officer said...

What's going to happen to this wonderful blog after you leave the ship? Will your replacement take it over?

I've got no idea right now, but I've also got 18 months left to figure it out.

And early blog post mentioned a leisure activity in which sailors drove golf balls out into the ocean. How does the random distribution of balls of plastic and rubber mesh with the ship's conservation concerns?

Water-soluable golf balls, like the ones they use on cruise liners. They're not very high quality, but it's not like we can use them over.

Desert Sailor said...

ET3 (from an old EMO) thanks for that, way back when it was known as "crankin" I too felt the fun of lugging it out...but as C-dore14 said it was well clear of the stern.

Jason, don't confuse a limited amount of relaxation or "FUN" with enviro freak think. Been on any cruise ship lately...far less environment friendly. Besides - they float - think "Wilson" and make a beachcombers day!

Anonymous said...

Hey, C-dore, glad to see you made it over!

(I've worked on one or ten of C-dores ships at Mayport NS)

Byron

MishMosh said...

I love the last line of the blog.... such a visual.

Tyler said...

"ET3 (from an old EMO) thanks for that, way back when it was known as "crankin" I too felt the fun of lugging it out...but as C-dore14 said it was well clear of the stern."

Oh the cranks still exist, working long hard days, and they too get their time in PWP. I cranked in the wardroom for 90 days...long hours and A LOT of cleaning!

Anonymous said...

Great blog. The day to day stuff is great. Have you tried a "Day in the Life" type photo spread. I recently got accepted to OCS in SWOs. I don't really know much about the day to day on ship. Living quarters and meal time is a particular interest at this moment.

Again, great site.

patti said...

So, what's it take to get an ET3 to take out the trash when he comes home on leave? (I am setting up a processing station in the basement now - hehehe)...
Hey...btw...the sails of your ship overlooking speer and downing are looking a bit ragged and tattered, sailor...