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JANUARY 2021

A Note from Jane

For some, 2020 brought illness, stress, financial hardship, and heartache. Even so, there were many things to celebrate! See some of our favorites below.

Wishing us all a healthier, happier New Year!

Jane Hiller
Education Director, Sonoco Recycling

Reflecting on 2020

Appreciation

We are all appreciating health care workers, educators, other essential service workers, and each other more than ever.

We were excited to read about one local essential worker who was honored in December when Mayor Steve Benjamin (below right) gave Oscar Davis (pictured to the left) a key to the City. Mr. Davis has served his community by providing garbage and recycling services for 50 years!

Communication

We all worked very hard this year to communicate and stay connected while we couldn’t meet face to face. I would personally like to thank my coworker, Elizabeth Wallace, for posting more recycling education resources on our Sonoco Recycling Education Page.

Coping

Many of us have coped with social restrictions by spending more time outside. If you think that will not be possible as winter weather approaches, think again. National Geographic believes a custom in Norway could help people around the world cope better during a COVID winter.

Despite long, dark winters, Norway ranks among the world’s happiest places, and a commitment to friluftsliv (“open-air living”) may explain why. Norwegians celebrate time outdoors every day, no matter the weather. Mental health experts have long known that time spent in a natural environment can boost mood and even alleviate trauma. So, dress appropriately and go outside to adopt the Norwegian saying, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Innovation

We are so thankful for manufacturers who switched gears to make PPE and medical researchers who developed vaccines at record speed.

And how about entrepreneurs like Binish Desai, who was horrified at all the discarded masks and began remanufacturing discarded PPE into bricks? He has already molded 40,000 bricks for construction from the used (and well sanitized) personal protective equipment and is gearing up to produce 15,000 more bricks each day. The masks are often made of polypropylene plastic, which can take hundreds of years to degrade.

Responsibility

We have learned to act responsibly by wearing masks, staying physically distant and yes…recycling!         With more online shopping, we have stepped up our game to encourage each other to recycle our empty, flattened boxes. Keep them coming!

But Americas are still not doing well
recycling plastic bottles. The recycling rate for plastic bottles actually decreased this year. Why is this so difficult?
  • To help continue recycling success in Lexington County, one of our favorite people has taken on new responsibilities heading into 2021. Laura Anne Hunt (pictured below) is the new Lexington County Recycling Coordinator. She has been working on recycling and sustainability research since 2007 and holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and an M.S. in International Sustainable Tourism.

New for 2021

New National Recycling Goal

U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently convened EPA's third annual America Recycles Summit to discuss the draft National Recycling Strategy and unveil a modern, ambitious National Recycling Goal to increase the national recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030. The Summit engaged leaders from across the recycling system to continue building on the success initiated over the last three years since EPA's first America Recycles Summit.

New Sustainable Packaging

Sonoco continues to add packaging designs that reduce environmental impact. Here are some exciting additions for 2021.

  1. Sonoco ThermoSafe announced the launch of its fully curbside recyclable temperature-controlled packaging in the U.S.
     
  2. Sonoco Acquires a Sustainable Paper Can Solutions Producer
     
  3. Sonoco Introduces Lightweight Recyclable Packaging for Heavyweight Products

Beyond Recycling

SCWF turns 90!

The SC Wildlife Federation will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2021 and continue its work to conserve and restore wildlife and wildlife habitats through education and advocacy. Three of their advocacy wins for 2020 included the passage of these bills:
  • Great American Outdoors Act (H.R.1957), which fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund – preserving, creating and ensuring access to outdoor recreation for the benefit of all Americans.
  • The “Turtle Bill” (H.4831) unanimously passed by the South Carolina House and Senate, giving SCDNR more authority to protect our native amphibians and reptiles.
  • The Disaster Relief and Resiliency Act (S.295), helping relocate individuals in South Carolina from properties that flood repeatedly and restoring that land for wildlife. The bill also calls for statewide resilience planning to lessen impacts of future hazardous weather events.

New Local Corps

Greg Brown of Greenleaf Farms in Hopkins will begin growing ginger and turmeric in addition to asparagus and other produce. Brown received one of seven $30,000 grants through the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship through a partnership with Clemson Cooperative Extension.

Upcoming Events


DEC 26 - JAN 7
Keep the Midlands Beautiful’s Annual Grinding of the Greens
Bring your live, undecorated holiday tree to one of their drop off locations
 
 
JANUARY 9
Free mulch from Grinding of the Greens’ recycled trees will be available to the public at Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Ln.  and the Richland County Tennis Center, 7500 Parklane Rd.
(8:30 am – until the mulch runs out)
 

JANUARY 7-8
Virtual Symposium for Smithsonian Waterways Exhibit
 

JANUARY 13
Final Day for Smithsonian Waterways Exhibit at Congaree National Park
 
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