Monthly Archives: November 2015

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

George W. McDaniel Receives 2014 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award

The state of South Carolina awarded George W. McDaniel, Ph.D. as the winner of the prestigious 2014 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award.  McDaniel received the award during a ceremony on October 22, 2015.

George W. McDaniel, Ph.D. (center) receives the 2014 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award at a ceremony on October 22, 2015.

George W. McDaniel, Ph.D. (center) receives the 2014 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award at a ceremony on October 22, 2015.

A Legacy of Preservation and Conservation

McDaniel is the former executive director of Drayton Hall, a position he held for 26 years.  An 18th century plantation on the Ashley River, Drayton Hall is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and managed by the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

Drayton Hall with Ashley River in the background along with the uplands and march conserved by Drayton Hall.

Drayton Hall with Ashley River in the background along with the uplands and march conserved by Drayton Hall.

During his tenure as executive director, McDaniel created collaborative partnerships and led initiatives that positively influenced the integrity of the Ashley River region and ecosystem. He is now recognized as a local, state and national leader for his efforts in pioneering what is now referred to as “whole place preservation,” the combination of environmental conservation and historic preservation.

Of his many achievements, McDaniel led efforts to have the Ashley River designated as a State Scenic River and is a founding member of the Ashley Scenic River Advisory Council. He has helped to conserve the tranquil natural environment and habitat surrounding not just Drayton Hall, but also around other historic sites along the river. He has raised awareness among thousands of people about the importance and interconnection of historic and environmental conservation through his speaking engagements, education initiatives, innovative tours of Drayton Hall,  and published works.

An excerpt from his nomination:
“He realized that, in the Lowcountry and elsewhere in the nation, humans and the environment have interacted over the centuries, and have changed and been changed by one another, so that what we see today is the result of that interrelationship. If we lose either the historical or the natural environment, then we have lost a critical link to our past and a connection to our future.”

An Award of Excellence

The S.C. Environmental Awareness Award was established by the S.C. General Assembly during the 1992 legislative session to recognize outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation, and improvement of South Carolina’s natural resources.

Each year the public is invited to submit nominations that are then reviewed by an awards committee. In judging nominees, the committee considers excellence in innovation, leadership and accomplishments that influence positive changes affecting the natural environment.

Members of the awards committee represent the S.C. Forestry Commission, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Previous winners of the Environmental Awareness Award include:

2013 – Joseph R. Hamilton, Founder of the Quality Deer Management Association
2012 – Thomas Kester, Chairman and Treasurer for the Conestee Foundation
2011 – Dr. Patricia J. DeCoursey, Professor of Biological Sciences at USC
2010 – Frank S. Holleman, III, President, Naturaland Trust
2009 – Dr. Fred Holland, Coastal Ecologist, Charleston
2008 – Benjamin Ziegler, Chairman, Pee Dee Land Trust
2007 – Dr. Richard Porcher, Jr., Professor Emeritus, The Citadel
2006 – Rick Huffman, Founder, South Carolina Native Plant Society
2004 – John L. Knott, Jr., President, Noisette Company, North Charleston
2003 – Burris Family, Owners, Cypress Bay Plantation Tree Farm, Beaufort
2002 – Dr. Jack Turner, Director, Watershed Ecology Center, Univ. of South Carolina
2001 – James D. Elliott, Jr., Founder, South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey
2000 – Dr. Dave Hargett, Conservationist, Greenville
1999 – Kenneth Strickland, Environmentalist, Florence
1998 – Yancey A. McLeod, Jr., Environmental Educator, Eastover
1997 – Brad Wyche, President, Friends of the Reedy River, Greenville
1996 – Beaufort County Clean Water Task Force
1995 – Dr. Whitfield Gibbons, Senior Research Ecologist, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
1994 – Marion Burnside, Chairman, SC Department of Natural Resources
1993 – Dana Beach, Executive Director, SC Coastal Conservation League
1992 – Rudy Mancke, Naturalist, SC Educational Television

DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Hosts 10th Annual Environmental Assistance Conference

By Rebecca Sproles, DHEC Environmental Quality Control and Stacey Washington, Bureau of Land and Waste Management

Nearly 220 environmental professionals attended the 10th Annual Environmental Assistance Conference on November 4, 2015 at the Columbia Conference Center. The conference, hosted by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), provides businesses, industries, municipalities, universities and consultants with valuable information on South Carolina’s environmental regulations, permitting and best practices for compliance.Air Quality 101

Attendees were able to hear the latest news and updates directly from DHEC staff specializing in a broad range of environmental areas from water to waste management. In addition to regulatory topics, attendees also learned about technical assistance and outreach programs that DHEC provides to make it easier for businesses to maintain optimal compliance.

hazardous waste packed house

The event fosters engagement and discussion between state regulators and those they regulate and provides networking opportunities for professionals to make connections and share ideas. Session topics included air quality basics and permit flexibility, hazardous waste generator categories and regulations, underground storage tank regulation updates, stormwater permitting and tools, what to expect during inspections, and recycling and food waste management options.

EAC DHEC booth

The conference is designed to be informative for all experience levels with two conference tracks offered this year- one for experienced environmental professionals and another focused on environmental basics for those new to the field.

Heigel 3The conference concluded with an update from the Air, Water and Land and Waste Management Bureaus within Environmental Affairs and the keynote address given by DHEC Director, Catherine Heigel. Thank you to everyone who attended and presented at the event!

For more information and to view presentation from the event, visit

November is National Family Caregivers Month

By Michele James, MSW, Director, DHEC Division of Healthy Aging


November is National Family Caregivers Month, a great time to honor and support the 65 million Americans who unselfishly provide care for elderly and/or disabled loved ones who have chronic conditions ranging from cancer, stroke, or arthritis to Alzheimer’s disease, which is the among the top ten leading causes of death in the United States. It often happens that a spouse or an adult child ends up serving as the primary caregiver, gradually taking on more responsibility as a senior’s needs change. Family caregivers assist with personal care, provide transportation, act as medical advocates, and offer emotional support for those who cannot live independently, and they do this while managing the demands of their personal lives, their jobs, and their families.

Here are some great ways to express your thanks and gratitude to the caregivers in your family:

  • Tell them in words. They can’t read our minds! Take time for a conversation or to write a letter expressing your appreciation of the important role they play.
  • Listen. Caregiving can create a sense of isolation. Ask how the caregiver is doing. Check in regularly.
  • Ask how you can help. Most caregivers have a wish list when it comes to balancing their caregiving duties with their work, family and personal responsibilities—but it can be hard for them to ask for help.
  • Enlist everyone. Encourage the caregiver to share information about your loved one’s needs. Brainstorm solutions to spread out the load.
  • Bring in a professional. If the family conversation isn’t going well, or family members are stumped about what to do, it’s worth it to bring in outside help.
  • Arrange for support services. If family members have the time and ability to help out with care tasks, set up a schedule. If family can’t do it all, help the caregiver locate professional services.
  • Hire in-home care. Arranging for home care services can be the very best way to lighten the caregiver’s workload and stress level, while providing peace of mind for everyone in the family. Families who share the cost of these services often find that in-home care is an affordable solution—even an economic advantage if it allows caregivers to continue in their own careers.

These people, so vital to our nation’s senior care system and to their loved ones, often put their own physical, emotional and financial wellbeing at risk. Sometimes, before anyone notices what’s happening, the senior’s care needs increase so much that the wellbeing of the caregiving family member suffers. They may neglect their own health and wellness routine. They may cut back on their hours at work or leave their job entirely. They are at higher risk of depression and other stress-related conditions. Caregivers’ stress levels and associated mental and physical decline can affect the quality of care that they are able to provide which, in turn, can result in increased suffering for the already vulnerable care recipient.  For more information, visit the National Council on Aging or Right At Home.

Cooking Matters Program Teaches Healthy Meal Preparation

By Shorus E. Manning, RD, LD, DHEC SNAP-Education Dietitian

cooking matters lex

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Healthy Food Initiative works to empower low-income families, kids, and adults with the knowledge and skills to prepare healthy and tasty meals on a budget. As part of that effort, DHEC has partnered with Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters® program. Participants in the Cooking Matters program learn to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals. Courses and tours equip families with the skills they need to stretch their food dollars and maximize the benefits they receive through public nutrition programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps) and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). Cooking Matters is currently in 27 states and has served more than 100,000 families across the country since its inception in 1993. DHEC’s Office of Professional & Community Nutrition Services oversees the Healthy Food Initiative and the partnership with Cooking Matters.

Cooking Matters Serves Families in Three Ways

Hands-On, Six-Week Courses

Community partners that serve low-income families offer six-week Cooking Matters courses to parents.  Team-taught by a volunteer chef and a nutrition educator, the course covers meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and nutrition. At the end of each class, participants take a bag of groceries home.

Interactive Grocery Store Tours

Cooking Matters at the Store tours provide families with hands-on education as they shop for food. The tours give families skills to compare foods for cost and nutrition. Families learn how to plan and budget for healthy, affordable, and delicious meals.

Education-Based Outreach

Using Cooking Matters toolkits, handouts and recipes, DHEC presents nutritional information and conducts demonstrations at community events, fairs, and emergency food distribution sites.

Questions?  Email or call (803) 898-1629.