Recycling Supports Healthy Communities and Healthy Economies

By Daphne Neel, Director of DHEC’s Bureau of Land and Waste Management

America Recycles Day, celebrated on November 15 every year, is dedicated to promoting the environmental and economic benefits of recycling. Across South Carolina, more individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies are recycling than ever before and you can make a difference by doing your part to recycle more.

Not sure of what to recycle or where? South Carolina collects a wide variety of material for recycling from aluminum cans to motor oil. Visit and click on “where to recycle locally.”

Compost it. Don’t waste it. What are you doing with your food scraps? Your yard debris? Instead of throwing these items in the trash, consider composting them – it’s nature’s way of recycling.

Do you know what Not to recycle? Putting the wrong items in a recycle bin can waste money and time. Please don’t place these 12 items, known in the recycling world as the Dirty Dozen,  in a recycling bin or cart:

  1. Plastic bags
  2. Plastic bags containing recyclables
  3. Shredded paper or other smaller items
  4. Scrap metal
  5. Hazardous household materials
  6. Flattened bottles or cans
  7. Non-recyclable plastics
  8. Caps / lids on glass bottles or jars
  9. Liquids or foods
  10. Non-recyclable glass
  11. Rope or rope-like items
  12. Diapers or bio-hazardous waste

 Why Recycle?

  • Recycling means business in South Carolina. More than 520 companies in South Carolina rely on material recycled by residents, businesses, schools, colleges and other organizations.
  • Recycling creates jobs. There are more than 22,000 jobs directly related to recycling in South Carolina.
  • Recycling has a huge economic impact. Recycling has a $13 billion annual impact on the state’s economy.
  • Recycling conserves natural resources. Recycling reduces the amount of raw materials like trees, minerals, oil and water that are needed to make new products.
  • Recycling saves energy. Did you know that it takes less energy to make a new product from recycled material than raw material? For example, recycling aluminum cans saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin sources.
  • Recycling reduces litter. As much as 75 percent of litter is material that can be recycled! Recycling helps keep our state clean and green and reduces costs associated with litter cleanup.
  • Recycling reduces the need for more landfills. Recycling saves landfill space by diverting valuable material from disposal. The more you recycle the less you throw away!
  • Recycling turns waste into valuable raw materials. Manufacturers rely on recycled material to make recycled-content products.  For example, did you know that your recycled plastic bottles are used to make carpet and clothing?
  • Recycling is easy. Whether you are at home, work, school or on the go, there are plenty of opportunities to recycle.

South Carolina has a goal to achieve a 40% recycling rate by the year 2020, and we need your help to reach that goal.

Learn more about how you can do your part and recycle more by visiting or

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