CAMP SMITH, Hawaii, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Marines in Hawaii say they're testing a high-tech trash disposal system that can reduce a 50-gallon bag of waste to a half-pint jar of harmless ash.
The Micro Auto Gasification System is undergoing evaluation at Camp Smith as a possible solution to help Marines deal with the problem of trash at remote forward operating bases, a release from the Office of Naval Research said Tuesday.
Waste disposal in the field is a problem, said Lt. Col. Mike Jernigan, a combat engineer who recently commanded a logistics battalion in Afghanistan.
"Right now, there are really only two solutions: burn it or bury it," Jernigan said. "Any potential solution must reduce the security and logistics concerns of trash disposal, and help the environment … that's a good thing for the Marine Corps."
The system is both environmentally friendly and fuel efficient, researchers said.
"The system essentially bakes the trash and recovers a high portion of combustible gas byproduct, which is used to fuel the process," said Donn Murakami, a science adviser who leads the Marine Corps' evaluation team.
"What we are doing for [forward operating bases] can be applied to schools, hospitals or an office building," Murakami said. "We are talking about disposing our waste in a different manner, rather than just sending it to the landfill."