A statewide campaign is gearing up to promote the economic and environmental benefits of recycling.
The public-private effort known as RecycleMoreSC is a call to action challenging residents, businesses, organizations and local governments to do their part to recycle more.
Richard Chesley, a manager in the DHEC Office of Solid Waste said a study released this past spring by the College of Charleston shows that recycling has a $13 million impact on the state’s economy. Chesley said the campaign’s goal is to reach a 40 percent recycling rate by the year 2020.
“We have two of the state’s largest recycling in Sonoco and Pratt that need material,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “And this campaign that we’re putting together is aimed at recovering more material.”
Along with DHEC, Pratt Industries and Sonoco Recycling, the campaign includes the South Carolina Beverage Association, Palmetto Pride, and the State Department of Commerce.
Chesley said more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs are associated with the recycling industry and more and more consumers are beginning to realize that recycling is a good practice not only for the environment, but also for the present and future economic climate of the state.
DHEC promotes recycling as a three-step process that begins and ends with each consumer. Chesley said the first step is for consumers to practice recycling at home and at the workplace. “The second step is this material gets processed into new raw materials and then are made into new products,” he added. “The third step is for each of us to buy, when feasible and practical, recycle content products.”
Chesley said recycling, like any other business enterprise, is market-driven, which means that some materials have significantly more value than others.
“Glass is very heavy and very corrosive on recycling equipment, and also expensive to move. Plastic is light and has very little value, so you have to have a lot of it to have any value at all and to move it. The flip side of that is that aluminum, newspaper, office paper, and cardboard have high value.”
Visit Recyclemoresc.org for more information.