In observance of America Recycles Day, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is applauding national and statewide efforts to increase recycling and encourages residents to continue these trends so the Palmetto State can be a cleaner and safer place to live. America Recycles Day falls each year Nov. 15.
“Numbers across the nation and here in South Carolina show that people are increasing their recycling efforts more and more each year,” said Myra Reece, DHEC’s Environmental Affairs director. “We want that trend to continue and are committed to teaching residents the proper ways to recycle and the benefits of recycling so we can create cleaner communities across our state.”
Data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that Americans recycled more than 69 million tons of waste in 2018. That amount is part of a decades-long increase, dating back to 1960 when the nation produced roughly 6 million tons of recycled waste. Food management and composting have also seen increases over the years, as individuals become more aware of the importance of recycling and reducing waste.
South Carolina’s recycling efforts from July 2020 through June 2021 included 1.2 million tons of material from residential homes and commercial buildings, and a 23.9% recycling rate with 45% of reported recyclables coming from residents. Additionally, South Carolinians removed enough emissions in that span to equal 800,000 passenger vehicles, according to the EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM). The waste model also showed the conservation of more than 4.25 million gallons of gasoline and an annual energy consumption equal to about 493,000 households.
“We’re beyond grateful that South Carolinians are doing their part in making our planet more sustainable,” said Reece. “We encourage those who participate in recycling to spread the word to their friends and family, so we can continue seeing improvements that will make our communities and planet a better place for future generations.”