DHEC Thanks South Carolinians for Recycling Efforts, Encourages Proper Recycling of Household Batteries as Part of ‘America Recycles Day’ (2024)

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Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 14, 2023

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In observance of America Recycles Day tomorrow, Nov. 15, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) applauds South Carolinians statewide for their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Recycling helps make the Palmetto State a cleaner, safer place to live.

Through the Recycle Right SC campaign, which is a partnership between DHEC and PalmettoPride, residents can easily learn what household items can be recycled and how and where to recycle them. Additionally, on Nov. 7, DHEC helped launch the Take Charge: Be Battery Smart campaign to educate residents about the serious health and environmental risks household batteries pose when they are not properly recycled.

“We’re grateful for South Carolinians doing their part to makeour environment healthierand more sustainable through the regular recycling of household items,” said Myra Reece, Director of DHEC’s Environmental Affairs. “While many of our residents understand the importance of recycling paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum, we have a new goal to spread awareness about how critical it is to also properly recycle household batteries.”

DHEC offers several tips for how to have the biggest impact with household recycling:

  • Make sure to recycle right. Putting the wrong thing in the recycling bin is called “contamination.” If a load of recyclables has too much contamination, it gets thrown away instead of being recycled.
  • Know what is recyclable. What you can recycle at work may be different from what you can recycle at home, or what you can recycle if you’re visiting someone in a different county. Take a minute to learn what’s accepted for recycling wherever you are by visiting scdhec.gov/RecycleHereSC.
  • Be mindful of hard-to-manage items. Some common items like lithium-ion batteries, electronics, and household hazardous waste can be recycled but should not go into your recycling bin. These items require specially handling to make sure they don’t hurt people or the environment. For help with these items, visit DHEC’s webpage about recycling hard-to-manage items or call 1-800-768-7348. For more info on safely handling and recycling batteries, go to BeBatterySmart.com.
  • Keep it clean. Make sure items you recycle are empty and relatively clean. No liquids, food or residue should go in your recycling bin.
  • Reducing and reusing support recycling. Recycling can be supported by reducing the amount of household waste that’s generated and by reusing or repurposing items.
  • Don’t waste food. The Don’t Waste Food SC program is a partnership with the S.C. Department of Commerce focused on preventing food waste, which is the No. 1 item Americans throw away each year.

According to the South Carolina Solid Waste Management Report for 2022, residents recycled 1,161,924 tons of municipal solid waste – the type of waste generated from households. The top materials recycled by weight were metal (33.8%), paper (24.2%), and organics (18.4%), which are leftover food or yard debris.

By 2030, DHEC and its waste reduction and recycling partners have a two-pronged goal for South Carolina: reduce municipal solid waste disposal to 3.25 pounds or less per person per day, and recycle at least 50% of the state’s municipal solid waste.

South Carolina's overall efforts have resulted in one of the best state recycling initiatives in the Southeast. There are about 90 recycling programs including nearly 70 curbside programs and more than 530 drop-off sites. Since 2000, South Carolinians have recycled more than 28 million tons of material.

Recycling also is a big business in South Carolina. The state's recycling industry of 300-plus companies adds an annual impact of $13.5 billion and 42,000-plus total jobs to South Carolina's economy.

“Only with the support of local waste management programs, our state’s recycling industry, partner organizations and, most importantly, our residents, can we hope to achieve these goals,” said Richard Chesley, DHEC's Section Manager for the Office of Solid Waste Reduction & Recycling. “While America Recycles Day is one day where we spotlight the advantages of household recycling, we want all South Carolinians to make proper recycling a routine part of their everyday lives so that our communities and state as a whole can reap the benefits of a clean, green, healthy state.”

For information about household recycling, visit scdhec.gov/recycling. Learn more about the importance of properly disposing of household batteries at BeBatterySmart.com.

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DHEC Thanks South Carolinians for Recycling Efforts, Encourages Proper Recycling of Household Batteries as Part of ‘America Recycles Day’ (2024)
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