Richland County residents helped keep nearly 130,000 pounds of household waste out of landfills and dump sites by participating in Richland Recycles Day, making the annual event a huge success.
From 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday, vehicles rolled into the SC State Fairgrounds and stopped at unloading stations where workers hauled junk from trunks and back seats into holding receptacles. Several vendors were onsite to collect tires, lawnmowers, TVs, latex paint and more during the event, organized by Richland County Solid Waste & Recycling.
An estimated 1,000 cars dropped off 45,000 pounds of electronics, 20,000 pounds of household chemicals, 18,500 pounds of latex paint, 11,000 pounds of scrap metal and 10,000 pounds of tires. Cooking oil, mattresses, pesticides and batteries were also collected, and more than 17,000 pounds of paperwork were shredded at the event.
“It was rewarding to see the excitement, desire and commitment of our citizens to manage their solid waste responsibly,” said Rudy Curtis, director of Richland County Solid Waste & Recycling. “This was exemplified by the gentleman who had positioned himself at the entrance gate at 3:30 a.m. to ensure that he was able to recycle his paints and other household chemicals when the gate opened at 7 a.m.”
While the recyclables piled up outside, hundreds of local school students attended a series of educational presentations inside the Ellison Building. Representatives from Richland County departments, local businesses, state entities and community organizations demonstrated the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling with hands-on activities at 22 different learning stations.
Students wore capes that read “Real Heroes Recycle” and enjoyed an ecofriendly lunch, including solar-roasted s’mores for dessert.
“Richland County students and teachers left this event empowered to be environmental heroes in their communities,” said Jane Hiller of Sonoco Recycling, one of the organizers of the educational event. “A huge thank you to everyone who makes this possible. Every year some teachers tell us this is the best field study they have ever attended.”
For more information about the many services offered by Richland County Solid Waste & Recycling, visit www.rcgov.us/richlandrecycles.