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MAY 2020

A Note from Jane

With all the stressful news in the world right now, here is some good news we can use.

For the second consecutive year, Lexington County exceeded both SC DHEC’s recycling and waste reduction goals. They scored the second highest recycling rate (54.26 %) of all counties in the state and were one of only three counties to meet both goals. Congratulations to the residents, businesses and solid waste/recycling team members in Lexington County!   

Statewide, South Carolinians are throwing away 3.64 pounds of trash and recycling 1.46 pounds per person/per day. Our state’s recycling average is 28.65 %. 

Residential recycling accounted for 35.8% of all the municipal solid waste recycled, while commercial/institutional recycling comprised 52%.

See the full 2019 SC Solid Waste report here.

Want to be better informed about recycling options where you live?

Check out these websites: City of Columbia / Richland County  / Lexington County

Traude Sander, Lexington County Recycling Coordinator, also recommends these opportunities:
  • Download your city or county Recycling Wizard app
  • “Like” your city or county Facebook page to stay up-to-date on waste reduction efforts in your community
  • Become a “Recycling Champion” by sharing information from your recycling coordinator with your network of family, friends, coworkers and neighbors
Let’s reduce waste in the Midlands!

Jane Hiller
Education Director, Sonoco Recycling

Recycling Education

How to Best Educate our Communities about Recycling

Recent studies show that Americans are more likely to recycle when shown new items made from recyclables. People did not recycle more after seeing the poster below on the left, but did recycle more after seeing the two posters on the right.
Wonderful products are made from recyclables right here in South Carolina:

The state’s paper mills turn recycled paper and cardboard into linerboard, tubes, cores and other packaging material. In addition, South Carolina is home to other recycled paper product producers, such as several paper converters and a molded fiber products company.                                                 
Recycled bottles are manufactured into more bottles, automotive parts, textiles, home furnishings, carpet, consumer products and more.

Steel and aluminum cans are remanufactured for the following South Carolina industry sectors: automotive, construction and building, energy, agriculture, aerospace, tools and packaging.

Shout Outs

Essential Services 

We are so grateful for the first responders, medical personnel, food supply teams and so many other essential service workers who have remained on the front lines during COVID-19.

I would also like to give a shout-out to all the solid waste and recycling workers who have also remained on the front lines to keep our communities clean.

Thanks to Chantal Fryer, SC Dept of Commerce, for recently recognizing Sonoco Recycling as an essential service provider following Sonoco’s announcement to convert a paper machine and add a recycled fiber-stock prep system in Hartsville. The $83 million dollar upgrade will enable Sonoco to recycle a wider range of mixed paper and cardboard.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

Many local companies have stepped up to provide health supplies during the pandemic, and we are sincerely thankful for all of their efforts. But I especially love this story about Sleep Number, a manufacturing plant in Irmo, who repaired nearly 200 N-95 masks for health care workers across our state.

Familiar Faces in New Places 

Laura Anne Hunt
We know Laura Anne from her tireless work to reduce waste and improve recycling infrastructure as the Housing Sustainability Coordinator at the University of South Carolina. Laura Anne is now the Executive Director of Keep the Midlands Beautiful, where we look
forward to working with her in many capacities, including community beautification, litter prevention, and recycling projects, as well as environmental education outreach through the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina and the SC Green Step Schools Initiative.
Jessica Burton
We have had the pleasure of working with Jess in her roles with PalmettoPride’s school programs including:
  • “Litter Trashes Everyone” puppet show, performed by the Columbia Marionette Theatre
  • PalmettoPride Art Contest
  • Litter-Free Games
  • Children’s Book Contest
  • Louie’s Read-A-Long Day
She also served as a SC Green Step School mentor and helped schools obtain transportation funding for field studies to Sonoco Recycling’s Education Center.
Jess is now a co-editor of Colatoday, where we will be seeing her work on a daily basis!

Staying Safe

Keep the Midlands Beautiful is all about litter prevention. But, they are advising us against picking up litter, in groups or individually, until further notice. Their warning is based on a report by the New England Journal of Medicine that COVID-19 can live on various surfaces from 24 to 78 hours. So, let’s just not litter!  PalmettoPride stresses safety measures if we do pick up litter. Walk far apart, wear gloves, and don’t touch your face.

Events in May

MAY 4 – 8
Air Quality Awareness Week 2020
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Weather Service (NOAA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Department of State announced that Air Quality Awareness Week 2020 will be celebrated May 4 – 8. The theme this year is “Better Air, Better Health.” With a respiratory virus crippling our nation, this couldn’t be timelier. 
Details here.

MAY 12
The Energy Office will be offering the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Course How Smart, Efficient, Sustainable Systems Lead to Improved Resilience on May 12, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. online.

The course will provide a descriptive summary of the concept of resilience in the built environment and how sustainability, efficiency and smart technology can help improve resilience. The concept of resilience applies to both manmade (e.g., terrorism) and natural (e.g., weather) events as they influence society’s infrastructure and systems. Future trends and technologies will also be discussed.


Mid May
Firefly Festival at Congaree National Park
The very popular Firefly Festival at Congaree National Park has been cancelled due to Covid-19With no public access to the park to observe the fireflies, CNP is hoping to provide a virtual viewing opportunity, such as a live-TV video stream or a taped video of the firefly activity that can then be broadcast on TV or internet. One of the main hurdles for a virtual event such as this is finding someone with access to the very high-tech equipment necessary to be able to capture the many faint blinking lights of the fireflies at night with such low light conditions. If you can help, please contact Eric Frey
Copyright © 2020 Sonoco Recycling, All rights reserved.

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