2016 Awards

The Carolina Recycling Association’s
26th Annual Awards

Each year, the Carolina Recycling Association honors top performers that advance waste reduction and recycling in the Carolinas. Award recipients were honored at the 26th Annual Conference. For the first time, the award categories were consolidated into a general pool and a panel of judges selected outstanding people, projects, and/or programs to recognize.  There were six nominees that rose to the top with creative and new ways to approach recycling and help change the way recycling and waste reduction happens in the Carolinas!

Chapel Hill and
Carrboro Schools

Cafeteria Composting Program
What began as a pilot program at three schools has now been expanded to all Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools. As a result 255,000 pounds of organics have been diverted from their waste stream. The students are taught about the process composting and receive presentations from the organics processor, Brooks Organics. A group of students were also trained to teach other schools how to roll out the program, and the signage was also designed by a group of students, making this a program that the students were heavily invested in which led to the program’s ultimate success.
Clemson University
Campus Recycling Program
Clemson University continues to set new benchmarks for their recycling program. For the fourth consecutive year, Clemson has seen double digit increases in the amount of materials collected. This year, they set a new record for Game Day recycling, with 237,000 pounds of recycling collected during the season. Clemson has expanded their food waste collection and set another record for themselves by increasing food waste diversion by 55% on campus. They have a successful move-in/move-out program which diverts recyclable and reusable materials from the landfill. They work hard to engage their students and thereby create student-driven ownership in the success of new and existing recycling initiatives.
Mecklenburg County
ReTire Program
Mecklenburg County’s ReTire Program is a creative program designed to divert bicycle tires and bicycle inner-tubes from the landfill. The program was initiated when a local bike shop manager was looking for an outlet to recycle bicycle tires. Mecklenburg County formed partnerships with two private sector entities (Waste Management and Boquete Mountain Coffee) to obtain collection equipment. Additional partnerships were formed to promote the program. An extensive ‘word-of-mouth’ campaign was launched via bicycling enthusiast/advocacy groups in the Charlotte area. Mecklenburg County worked with 5 bicycle shops to participate in the Retire Pilot Program. Those 5 bicycle shops diverted over 2,440 pounds of bicycle tires and inner-tubes. Based on generation numbers from the pilot, Mecklenburg County estimates that over 12,500 pounds of bicycle tires and bicycle inner-tubes are being disposed of by bike shops in Mecklenburg County on an annual basis, which they hope to be able to begin to recover.
Medical University of SC
University and Medical Center Recycling Program
MUSC, a university and medical center located in the heart of downtown Charleston, SC is the largest employer in SC with over 14,000 FTE employees. They serve the medical and educational needs of a large and diverse community. MUSC operates a lab recycling program, which diverts a large array of very unique materials. MUSC provides in person training to lab personnel and provide recycling bins and signage to increase materials collection. MUSC has also tackled hard-to-recycle items by promoting mail back programs for styrofoam shipping containers and a cold pack exchange, which allows reuse of these materials. As a result of these efforts, MUSC has seen a 27.5% increase in the total tonnage of recycling and saved $17,000 in hauling and landfill fees. There are an estimated 700 labs on campus and MUSC is actively trying to expand recycling to more of them. They estimate that they could save up to $77,000 a year as more materials are diverted.
Ocean Lakes Campground
iCare Program
Ocean Lakes Campground, the largest campground on the east coast, operates an iCare Program that aims to help reduce the environmental impact of the campground and its guests. The iCare Program focuses on three things; pet waste, litter, and recycling. The goal to reduce the seasonal garbage inspired Ocean Lakes. Guests and teammates have recycled more than 325,240 pounds of solid waste, averaging about 2 tons per week. Ocean Lakes’ landscaping composter produces mulch and fertilizer for the flower beds. Ocean Lakes designed signs to educate guests about pet pollution, recycling, beach litter and the impact of cigarette butts on the environment. They operate six monofilament fishing line receptacles at the park’s lakes and they fertilize the flowers with their own compost. Solar-heated water is being tested at one of the bathhouses to determine how much water and gas it saves. Finally, a “Green Meter” sign is located on the main road through the campground displaying the number of pounds of solid waste guests and teammates have recycled in an effort to always engage guest to recycling more.
Pump-Side Recycling
Sheetz, a chain of gas stations and convenience stores with 80 stores in NC, has rolled out pump-side recycling for bottles and cans. What began as a pilot project, has rolled out to all stations with access to commingled recycling. In September 2015, the company-wide recycling program was rolled out and Sheetz has successfully implemented recycling at 352 of their 511 stores. Of the 80 stores in NC, currently 52 have public pump-side recycling. Sheetz is committed to achieving recycling at 100% of their locations and continues to seek options for locations without current access to single stream recycling service. Sheetz conducted employee training and a lot of thoughtful work to roll out a program that would be successful and replicable. They have a strong corporate commitment to recycling and pioneers in the world of creating access for recycling at gas stations.