OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) - Sailors and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians gathered at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Navy Whidbey Recycle Center to kick off the start of Energy Awareness Week, Oct. 21.

Held every year during energy awareness month, the event is a chance to remind everyone how important it is to conserve energy.

Energy Awareness week will be held Oct. 25-29 and followed by America Recycles Day on November 15.

Capt. Jay Johnston, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island kicked off the event and spoke to the attendees about the goals for NAS Whidbey Island, the energy saving upgrades and projects, and the impact of recycling.

"When you recycle, you actively contribute to energy savings because products made from recycle materials use less energy," said Johnston.

Johnston highlighted several facts. He noted that when manufacturing recycle materials, the raw materials are already available and the recyclables merely needs to be broken down into their basic components for reuse.

Also covered, was the fact that an average person has the potential to recycle 25,000 aluminum cans in the course of a lifetime, and recycling a single aluminum can save enough energy to power a television for three hours.

The event also recognized the Sailors and DOD civilians assigned to the command Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) as being the top recyclers on base.

"Today, in addition to the information being put out about energy conservation, we recognized PSD as being our top recycler. They went from 44 trash cans to just 4 cans, which is significant. They composed all their materials, wrappers and anything that's biodegradable from coffee grounds to banana peels," said Paul F. Brewer, manager of Integrated Solid Waste Program at Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Whidbey Island. "The Sailors and civilians at PSD are all team players, Petty Officer Mayfield and Seaman Taylor; were both responsible for the way the personnel were getting rid of everyday trash at their command and decided to do something about."

Personnel Specialist Seaman Kyle Taylor of Detroit assigned to PSD and in charge of recycling said being in charge of the recycling for his command was a challenge at first.

"When we were at our old building we threw everything in the dumpsters. Everyone was getting a little careless, but that has stopped since we moved into our new location," said Taylor.

"Taking away the trash cans in the office made a lot of people think about what they were throwing away and what could be recycled," added Taylor. "Recycling became easier as the weeks went by."

To date, NAS Whidbey Island realized nearly $1.3 million in cost avoidance last fiscal year and achieved a 78.69 percent recycling rate (6,023 tons of materials). In addition, NAS Whidbey Island marketed recycling materials which brought in over $315,000 in sales revenue.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island received the FY09 Secretary of the Navy Platinum Level of Achievement for the 3rd consecutive year.