The South Carolina State Fairgrounds became the epicenter of recycling Saturday as residents dropped off unwanted household junk for Richland County’s huge annual recycling event.
Richland Recycles Day took place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday – the first year it was held on a weekend, to make it more convenient for residents to take part in the event. A steady stream of vehicles rolled into the SC State Fairgrounds throughout the day, stopping at unloading stations where workers hauled junk from trunks, trailers and back seats into giant holding receptacles.
More residents dropped off more material than last year. Nearly 1,000 vehicles brought an estimated 170,000 pounds of material, including:
- 55,000 pounds of electronics
- 48,600 pounds of paint
- 15,000 pounds of tires
- 15,000 pounds of scrap metal
- 13,200 pounds of hazardous household waste
- 6,500 pounds of pesticides
Cooking oil, light bulbs, mattresses and batteries also were collected, and more than 13,000 pounds of paper were shredded at the event, which is organized annually by Richland County Solid Waste & Recycling.
“It’s promising and rewarding each year to see how many residents are taking the steps to recycle and properly dispose of their household materials,” said Solid Waste & Recycling Director Rudy Curtis. “We’re happy to provide the services that help keep these thousands and thousands of pounds of recyclable materials out of landfills, but it takes proactive and thoughtful residents to make events like Richland Recycles Day such a success.”
At the end of the day, the mountainous piles of collected materials were hauled away by a variety of vendors that will either recycle or responsibly dispose of the goods.
Prior to Saturday’s collection event, the educational portion of Richland Recycles Day was held at the fairgrounds, where more than 300 students participated in hands-on learning. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, students were treated to dozens of green-themed workshops that were put on by local organizations, such as Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Sonoco Recycling, City of Columbia Park Rangers, Whole Foods, Inc., and more. Students designed their own “Heroes of Recycling” capes and took part in several mini-projects, such as recycling paper by hand, testing the differences in light bulb efficiency and enjoying s’mores that were roasted on solar panels.
“It’s always exciting to see so many young, energetic students learning new and old themes for creating a sustainable environment for our community,” Curtis said.
Contracted curbside haulers for Richland County Solid Waste & Recycling also presented each school district with a $2,500 check during the event to assist the districts with their Snack Pack Programs.
For more information about Richland County Solid Waste & Recycling, visit www.rcgov.us/richlandrecycles.