Highlights from RETHINK, Green holiday tips, and upcoming events in this issue of Bin Thinking.
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December 2016

A Message from Jane

America Recycles Day 2016 is a sweet memory for this environmental educator. Local teachers, students and their families celebrated together at the annual RETHINK Event sponsored by the Midlands Recycling and Sustainability Coalition after students researched fireflies and their environmental challenges then used repurposed materials to create STEAM firefly projects. Forty students were selected to compete in this year's regional contest hosted by the staff of Saluda Shoals Park. This final newsletter of 2016 is dedicated to these inspirational teachers, creative students, supportive families and generous Midlands community.

Jane Hiller
Education Director, Sonoco Recycling

In This Issue

RETHINK Highlights
Deadline: Green Step Schools
Green Holidays
Items Needed
Upcoming Events

Highlights from America Recycles Day

We are excited about all the environmental learning that lit up this event.

Students learned from their research, from each other’s presentations and from the wonderful Park Rangers on hand from Saluda Shoals and Congaree National Park. And everyone enjoyed “becoming” fireflies for a flickering moment thanks to the talented and generous artists at Ballentine Recreation’s “Creative Connections."

Photo: Mary Pat Baldauf, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Columbia.
Fun prizes were donated by EdVenture, the State Museum, the Columbia Art Museum, Columbia's Firefly Baseball Team and Riverbanks Zoo. The top $100 prize from Sonoco Recycling was awarded to Abrianna McClerklin, a 5th grade student from Catawba Trail Elementary, for her “Trash Bag Firefly.”
Read her research here.

Photo: Abrianna McClerklin presenting her project.
Other Prizes Went to...
1st – 3rd grades
  • Lake Carolina Elementary
  • St John Neumann
4th – 6th grades
  • Harmony School (pictured right)
  • Gilbert Elementary
  • Longleaf Middle
  • St John Neumann
9th -12th grades
  • Dutch Fork High School
  • Lexington Career Center (pictured right)
  • White Knoll High School
Another Favorite
Oak Pointe Elementary’s 4th group project of a firefly habitat was a crowd pleaser and one of this educator's favorite projects.

Judging the contest were members of the Midlands Recycling and Sustainability Coalition and mentors for the SC Green Step Schools Initiative: Mary Pat Baldauf, City of Columbia Sustainability; Samantha Yager, City of Columbia Recycling; Lauren Robinson, Keep the Midlands Beautiful; Sandra Bryan, PalmettoPride; and Jane Hiller, Sonoco Recycling.

Green Step Schools

The deadline is here! Project forms for Award Year 2017 are now due. Please email them to

Green Holidays

Did you know that Americans make more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years than at any other time of the year?  Don’t be “Fa-La-La-La- Foolish;” think of ways to minimize trash at school while you celebrate with your school family.

Try these easy solutions
  • Raid your recycling bins to make holiday decorations
  • Choose holiday treats that don’t come in trashable wrapping
  • Serve finger foods on paper napkins that can go into the schoolyard compost bin

Items Needed

Please collect these items for fellow educators:
  • large plastic coffee lids
  • plastic pull tabs from cartons
  • corks
  • out-of-date picture calendars
  • post-holiday poinsettias
Contact if you have items to donate.

December is ARBOR MONTH!

Please help plant trees as part of an effort to plant 7.8 billion trees around the world, one for every person on Earth, by Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, Earth Day 2020.
Learn more about this year’s events, how you can help, and how to get your whole community involved.
Get Involved

Just for Teachers

December 3
Project Learning Tree “Climate Change” Workshop at Congaree National Park.
Contact: Matt

December 19-20
“Adopt-A-Stream” Coordinator Training
Contact: Chenille

January 4
Save the date: 2017 South Carolina Outreach and Informal Educators Summit (SCOIES) in Columbia.
Details to follow.

Gala for a Greener Midlands

December 9th

Keep the Midlands Beautiful – Gala For A Greener Midlands
Get More Information

City of Cayce Electronic Recycling

Date: January 7
Time: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Grinding of the Greens

December 26-January 12
Drop off your Christmas trees to be recycled into mulch. 
January 14
Pick up your free Christmas tree mulch.
Learn More
February 3
Deadline to apply for Richland County Conservation Mini Grants.
Apply for This Grant
Sonoco Recycling is a proud member of the Sonoco Family, a global provider of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and packaging supply chain services.
Copyright © 2016 Sonoco Recycling, All rights reserved.

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