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MAY 2021

A Note from Jane

Recycling is about conserving natural resources, reducing pollution, making new products, and creating jobs. And yes, it is also about reducing garbage! This issue features some articles about waste and waste reduction that we hope you will find interesting and helpful.

Jane Hiller
Education Director, Sonoco Recycling


Local News

Cola Today recently published a great overview of recycling in the greater Columbia area. Read it here.
Residents of both Lexington and Richland Counties have great opportunities to recycle “hard to recycle” items this month:


  • It is estimated Americans use 100 billion plastic bags per year and fewer than 10% are recycled. In search of a solution, the Center for a Circular Economy held a challenge to find new concepts that serve the function of a single-use bag. The nine winners offer some innovative solutions.
  • The book that started the waste-free living movement, Zero Waste Living, relates Bea Johnson’s inspirational personal story and provides practical tools and tips to help readers diminish their footprint and simplify their lives
  • Keep America Beautiful is offering a Zero Waste Webinar on May 20. Details and registration here.


  • Lexington County is working on a trash collection program that could begin rolling out in unincorporated areas of the county early next year if it’s approved. The county’s population increase is creating more of a need for the trash pickup as the 11 collection sites are overwhelmed.
  • There’s more space junk in orbit around Earth than people realize. Pictured below is a new test spacecraft that has been launched to try to clean some of it up. 

Beyond Waste Reduction


  • Dominion Energy of South Carolina recently announced that the utility could stop using coal by the end of the decade.
  • According to Popular Mechanics, your body heat could power your wearable devices. Personal thermoelectric generators in development are small wearable devices that turn the heat your body naturally creates into electrical energy, providing renewable power for tech on and in our bodies. This could eliminate the need for batteries in smartwatches, pacemakers, and other implants.

Flood Redevelopment

Richland County is beginning the first of its flood redevelopment projects after buying out damaged homes from the 2015 floods. The first project area will include 20 lots on Timberlane Drive that back up to Gills Creek. The houses have been demolished, and FEMA regulations will allow for parks, planting vegetation, and more.

Litter Prevention

The Office of the Governor, SC Department of Public Safety and PalmettoPride hosted a press event at the State House, April 12 to kick off SCDPS Special Enforcement Week, a statewide litter and unsecured loads enforcement campaign. Members of the SC Highway Patrol and SC Transport Police will lead the push for more enforcement of unsecured load laws and litter laws. (State codes 48-53-10, 56-5-4100, 16-11-700)


City of Columbia officials celebrated the reopening of 2 community parks. Marshall Park and Fairwood Park have upgraded playground equipment as part of the city’s master plan.

Upcycled Art

This TEXTILE TALK Webinar: Vintage, Found & Transformed featured Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Jennifer Lee Morrow, and local artist, Susan Lenz.


  1. Birdhouses
    SC Wildlife Federation has a variety of bird houses and metal plates to attach to birdhouses to protect against hungry squirrels. Shop here.
  2. Bird Studies
    Once imperiled American Bald Eagle populations are soaring but a recent study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology found that overall North American bird populations have dropped by about one-third in the last 50 years.

Upcoming Events

Keep the Midlands Beautiful Shoe Drive
Keep the Midlands Beautiful will host the next “Spotless Service Saturday” May 1 (9am-Noon) on Fairmont Road (from Leesburg Road to Hallbrook Drive in the City of Columbia. Click here to sign up. All materials and safety gear will be supplied. Or, plan a pickup in your own neighborhood as part of the Great American Cleanup.

Mad Hatters Art Party

MAY 15
Richland County Recycles Day at the State Fair Grounds
Recycle: tires, e-waste, chemicals, and more.
Free to Richland County residents only (no businesses)
Info: 803-576-2440

MAY 15
Adopt-A-Highway and Adopt–A-Spot Pick-Up Date
Check here for new group leader mandatory safety training & orientation dates via Zoom meeting or try out our new on-line, self-paced module.

MAY 15 & MAY 20
Lexington County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
Event at EcoFlo 1741 Caulk Ferry Road, Lexington
Free to Lexington County residents only (no businesses)

MAY 21-23
The Home and Garden Show at the State Fairgrounds. Hoping to see some great sustainable items on display!
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