Despite sequestration and the upcoming furloughs, the Fourth of July celebration will go on thanks to Fort Leonard Wood’s recycling program.

Fort Leonard Wood and Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation have been covering some portion of this event with recycling dollars for the past five years.

This year recycling dollars have been budgeted to cover the cost of the fireworks, both the stage and lighting for the Soldier Show, and the costs of lodging and food for the Soldiers in the show.

“Each year, the Garrison commander receives input from various activities regarding costs of the program, expected revenues, and recommended uses of the remaining funds. Over the years as both appropriated funding and non-appropriated profits were declining, we purposefully budgeted to cover some of the costs of the Fourth of July event since it is a large community event that benefits many service members and Families,” said Gail Williamson, Directorate of Resource Management director.

There are laws and regulations in place that dictate how recycling funds can and can’t be used, and payroll is in the “can’t” category with one exception.

The money is “only to reimburse the cost of actual labor expended on recycling processing; recycle dollars cannot be changed into payroll dollars for personnel who do not directly support recycle operations,” she said.

She further clarified, “We first cover the cost of operations and after that, up to 50 percent of the balance can be used for projects for pollution abatement, energy conservation, and occupational safety and health activities. The remaining balance can be transferred to the non-appropriated morale and welfare account to be used for any morale and welfare activity.”

The recycling dollars have also been used through FMWR for several other events and improvements such as the slide for Wallace Pool, the mini-golf course, playgrounds around the fort, Armed Forces Day events, fitness trail improvements, free weekly movies, and various pavilions at recreation sites.

“I think one of the comments I’ve heard in the past is there is no way we could have recycle funds to cover all of this, but what the community does not know is that most of our real income is from brass residue. The recycling we do to improve the environment (divert from landfills) makes a small contribution, but the benefit is that we are not paying to trash it somewhere,” said Williamson.

The recycle planning budget was started in Aug. 2012 and was approved by the Garrison commander in early 2013