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JUNE 2021

A Note from Jane

My co-workers and I have seen some eye-popping items on our sorting line at Sonoco Recycling’s MRF (Material Recovery Facility): bowling balls, kitchen appliances, medical needles, diapers, guns, and more.

We also get things that people recycle by mistake including wedding pictures, standardized tests, greeting cards with checks inside, and lots of TV remote controls. On our weirdest list is an unmarked urn that came in filled with someone’s ashes. We knew what was inside because the lid flew off and the contents flew out!

But, of course, every MRF has its own list of weird stories! Here is one that recently appeared in the news.

Columbia Metropolitan Magazine recently published an excellent article covering what Columbia recycling experts have to say about recycling right.

Please follow the recycling rules for your community!

Happy June!

Jane Hiller
Education Director, Sonoco Recycling


Local News

  • Lexington County will begin accepting CLEAN, DRY, STRETCHY plastic bags, wrap and film for recycling at all 11 Collection and Recycling Centers. This material can be recycled into composite decking and furniture consisting of 95% recycled content while preventing litter, saving landfill space, energy and money - and creating jobs in South Carolina. Citizens should continue to discard plastic bags, wrap, or films that crinkle, tear easily, are wet or contain food. Contact: Laura Anne Hunt for more information!
  • Richland County will be applying “Recycle Right” stickers (see below) to the lids of household recycling roll carts this month.

    Also, due to staffing shortages Richland County residents may see a delay in curbside pickups. Details here.
  • South Carolina Recycling Report
    A recent report shows that manufacturing supports, directly or indirectly, more than 30% of jobs statewide predominantly in the aerospace, automotive, and tire sectors making manufacturing the leading industry in the state. 

    The Recycling Market Development staff at the South Carolina Department of Commerce points out that the Palmetto State is also home to over 300 recycling companies including collectors, processors, recycled product manufacturers, and equipment makers. The economic impact of recycling now exceeds $13 billion. In addition, the recycling industry has the ability to scale up employment at a higher rate than the average South Carolina industry with an employment multiplier of 2.4. This means that for every 10 jobs in recycling, there are 14 others created in the state’s economy. In the last five years, Commerce helped facilitate recycling industry recruitment of 1,958 jobs, $1.29 million in capital investment, and 31 new or existing companies investing in South Carolina.
  • Plexiglass Recycling
    To help with post-pandemic cleanup, Mumford Industries will be taking plexiglass dividers for recycling.  Plexiglass sheets must be stacked flat on pallets or boxes on pallets and wrapped or banded. Delivery to their facility in Ninety Six, S.C. is preferred. Contact Tina Green Please note that scientists are predicting the possibility of another surge of COVID surge in the fall. So, you may want to consider storing that plexiglass for a while just in case.
  • Pyrolysis Recycling
    The Post & Courier reports that legislation is likely headed to the desk of Gov. Henry McMaster which would allow companies who melt plastics by a process called pyrolysis to operate in South Carolina without the same regulations that apply to other trash handlers. Opponents of the bill worry that this new industry will fail financially and leave the state with a mess to clean up.
  • Bottle Bills
    The long-standing debate about bottle bills continues. Read more here.

Beyond Waste Reduction & Recycling

  • Air 
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, South Carolinians enjoyed a brief period of time when commuting to work ceased and the air was cleaner due to reduced air pollution coming from vehicle emissions. As businesses reopen and we return to the workplace, we can still help keep vehicle emissions low by encouraging our workplaces to participate in SC DHEC's Breathe Better for Businesses program. Registered businesses will receive anti-idling signs for loading areas and air quality desktop signs to display the Ground-level Ozone Forecast for staff and visitors. The program also encourages offering and supporting telecommuting, alternate work schedule options, and other air pollution reduction strategies for your staff.
  • Food
    The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is now open to help provide fresh produce for eligible seniors and support local farmers. The $5 checks are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be spent at approved farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.

    Three eateries on the UofSC campus -  Chick-fil-A, Honeycomb Café, and Global Café - have been designated Certified Green Restaurants®. Check out the list of standards here.
  • Litter
    Time magazine writes, “Garbage is freaking everywhere after Americans venture out after a year of lockdowns.”

    Wired reports that littered PPE waste is posing problems for wildlife.
  • Pets
    Is it time to think of ways to reduce the environmental footprint of our pets? Read this.
  • Pollinator Gardens
    Champions of the Environment are building a State Pollinator Garden Map. Please contact Amanda Ley if you have a pollinator garden at your park, school, or agency. Why are pollinator gardens important? Read this.
  • Water Quality
    Richland County Stormwater Management and Columbia Water are looking for volunteers to mark storm drains as a part of their “Drains Aren’t Dumps” campaign. Visit this website for details and sign up. By participating, your community can win free art!
  • Weed Control 
    Veteran-owned Green Goat Land Management will rent out goats by the day to help clear land. A team of 5 goats can do this job in a quick and environmentally-friendly way, averaging 5,000 square feet in 5 days.
  • Upcycled Art
    Susan Lentz’s recent Clothesline Installation speaks to days when people did things by hand and appreciated the natural scent of air-dried laundry. Dig out your clothespins!
  • Wine
    Seattle’s first and only “keg wine on tap” bar, Footprint, thinks “outside the bottle” to reduce waste.

Upcoming Events

Wag-Along Wednesdays at Columbia Fireflies Baseball Games at Segra Park.
Bring a 4-legged friend. City and County Storm Water educators will be there to remind us to clean up after our dogs and “Trash the Poop.”
Keep the Midlands Beautiful's shoe recycling drive.

2021 Great American Clean-Up
Form a team of friends, family, and neighbors, then click here or call (803) 733-1139 to schedule your cleanup.

KMB’s Spotless Service Saturday
Our team and volunteers will pick up litter from Lower Richland Blvd. in Richland County All clean-up supplies are provided. Click here or call (803) 733-1139 to sign up or get more information!

JUNE 5-6
Columbia International Festival at the SC State Fairgrounds

JUNE 5-6
Lexington County AG + Art Tour
Details here.

JUNE 12-13
Richland County AG + Art Tour
Details here.
Note: Wide mouth glass jars are needed to make terrariums with kids at Mill Creek Greenhouse. Contact Jennifer Mancke if you have jars to donate.

FREE Keeping Cool in Columbia webinar, streaming live on YouTube, 6:00-7:30 p.m.



SC Wildlife Federation free Zoom class “Grasslands of the Carolinas: Fire and Bison”


JULY 15-18
SC Wildlife Federation’s “Wild Summer Nights Online Auction.”
Bid on unique experiences, outdoor gear, trips works of art, gift baskets, and more to support wildlife conservation. To donate auction items, contact:

Household Hazardous Waste Collection for Richland County Residents
Columbia Place Mall
7201 Two Notch Road
Contact: (803) 576.2440
Copyright © 2021 Sonoco Recycling, All rights reserved.

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