Each year, the Carolina Recycling Association honors top performers that advance waste reduction and recycling in the Carolinas. Award recipients were honored at the 27th Annual Conference. Continuing this year, 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!
|Boeing South Carolina||The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the world’s most environmentally progressive commercial airplane. Boeing South Carolina decided that the manufacturing facility needed to match the standards of the Dreamliner. In 2011, Boeing South Carolina achieved zero – waste to landfill. As part of their LEED certification fulfilment, Boeing South Carolina introduced the enhanced recycling concept: providing convenient recycling stations throughout the facility. Boeing South Carolina also implemented a pre-consumer compost program within their food service operation. By allowing the food service team to manage food waste before distribution, contamination rates dropped to zero and eliminated the risk of contamination by consumers. With the addition of well placed, easily understood signage in restrooms, Boeing South Carolina added restroom paper towels to the compost program. In 2016, Boeing South Carolina eliminated over 180 tons of wood, foam and cardboard packaging waste by establishing a local satellite manufacturer for the frames used to support the underbelly of the airplane. This idea resulted in the implementation of durable, reusable shipping carts that completely replaced disposable packaging.|
|City of Columbia (SC)||The City of Columbia recognized that thousands of university students participate and understand recycling while on campus. Off-campus, the how, when and where to recycle was very challenging and virtually not done. The city used a new cart program as the incentive to reimagine the way to communicate with all residents. The city developed an app that allows residents to receive notifications about recycling and waste days, and allows interaction with other tools to find information about products, places and services available to them. The Waste Wizard app assists with what is and is not recyclable; thru this app, messages can be sent for educational purposes, especially to remind the moving-in or moving-out students about cardboard recycling. A free, weekly newspaper, called the Free Times is another place where the City of Columbia is advertising the Recycling Wizard and how to download their app. Five Points is the main entertainment district for university students; recycling and trash containers were wrapped to show patrons what can be recycled and where to find more information. Drop-off signage was strategically placed to direct students to the site to recycle. Direct mail flyers were mailed to rental residents as well as full-time Columbia residents. Cart tags were also used to remind patrons that their recyclables were contaminated and what cannot go into the recycling cart. This multi-pronged approach is key to the city’s success in recycling.|
|City of Greensboro (NC)||Operation Bed Roll was an effort by Greensboro’s field operations department to educate citizens about the problematic plastic bag. City of Greensboro Education Specialist, Tori Carle, introduced the idea of reusing plastic shopping bags as plarn, plastic bag yarn. Tori developed a program to involve community groups in crocheting bedrolls, or sleeping mats, out of plarn to give to people experiencing homelessness in Greensboro. Operation Bed Roll: Conserve, Crochet, Care was born! Tori designed a workshop to teach people how to make plarn as well as instructional flyers, bed roll patterns and a how-to-video accessible on the city web page. She also involved the city police department and the local homeless shelters to help distribute the rolls. Other community partners, from classroom teachers, women’s organizations, scouts, churches and others, got involved to make the rolls and there-by combining environmental education, crafting and homeless outreach in a single project. Greensboro taught over 80 plarn workshops teaching 3000 residents how to make the bedrolls, and made a total of 211 bedrolls that have been distributed throughout the City, saving 147,000 plastic bags from disposal.|
|City of Greenville (SC)||The City of Greenville transitioned its curbside recycling program from 18-gallon bin, dual-stream, manual collection to 95-gallon cart, single-stream automated collection systems – thereby executing one of the solid waste division’s largest infrastructure and programmatic changes. The resulting “All In” recycling simplified was the campaign that served as the outreach and education tool. Blending advertising on tv, radio and print with social media communication, newsworthy media opportunities and public outreach events, this “All In” recycling simplified was introduced to Greenville. Residents were educated on the changes in their recycling program: plastics #1-#7 are acceptable, glass is not. Change is tough, but this “Greenville is All In” campaign proved to be effective and popular.|
|Keep Durham Beautiful||Keep Durham Beautiful (KDB) successfully created and launched a waste reduction program for the City of Durham’s popular Food Truck Rodeo events. KDB developed food truck rodeo policies and procedures, signage and materials, and a system to engage volunteers to help divert thousands of pounds of waste from the landfill, including food waste. Through careful planning and strategic involvement of the major stakeholders, KDB developed and implemented a “Waste-Wise Special Events Planning Manual”. They assisted “Don’t Waste Durham”, a grassroots organization, in developing a sustainable food truck certification program, and successfully handed over the waste diversion responsibilities to the managers of Durham City Park, the organizer and host of the 5-time a year event.|
York County (SC)
|Leslie Hatchell’s 22 year dedication to waste reduction, recycling and litter prevention is evident when examining the lifespan of the York County solid waste collection & recycling program. Leslie’s passion combined with efficient collection methods and incredible education and outreach programs has led to an amazing increase in recycling. Solid waste collection & recycling has had a household hazardous materials program since 1995. Leslie was successful with her grant writing skills to secure funding for a permanent building for household hazardous materials. Leslie has secured grant funding of over $1.5 million. Leslie has been involved in litter abatement, developed the York County litter proposal, and served on the adopt-a-highway program for over 15 years. Leslie was instrumental in the development of a new keep South Carolina Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful affiliate: Keep York County Beautiful. Her persistence led to the creation of a new staff position as the clean community coordinator/executive director of Keep York County Beautiful. Leslie has formed lasting partnerships with many cities and entities in the county. These partnerships have allowed for programs and activities to overlap with these groups, like Earth Day celebrations, green business conferences, America Recycles Day, environmental education liaisons, and much more.|