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April 21, 2011

Earth Day Award winners announced

COLUMBIA – A teacher, a non-profit, a university, a homeowner and two businesses were recognized at the third annual Earth Day Awards program held today by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“Our Earth Day Awards recognize individuals, families, communities, businesses and organizations that take actions every day to help protect South Carolina’s environment,” said DHEC Commissioner Earl Hunter. “Every day South Carolinians do their part and go green by reducing waste and recycling, conserving water, saving energy, preventing pollution and other practices that protect our air, water and land. The 2011 Earth Day Award winners perfectly reflect the spirit of the award.”

Hunter announced the 2011 award winners included Angelique Liddelow, of Ridgeland Elementary School in Jasper County; the Central S. C. Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Lexington County; Daimler Vans Manufacturing LLC in Charleston County; the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston; U.S. Foodservice in Lexington County; and Sally Nicholson (in partnership with O’Leary-Cole, Inc.) of Greenville County.

Liddelow is known throughout her school and community for her non-stop dedication to the environment and her students as well as her talents as an artist and art teacher. She set up the first Earth Day celebration at her school and uses only recycled materials in her classroom. Students want to be in her class and learn to create recycled works of art as well as life-long lessons of preserving and protecting the environment. Liddelow’s recycled artwork is seen throughout Jasper County as well as the region.

The Central S. C. Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located in West Columbia, combines the reuse of various donated products and building materials, with the larger cause of eliminating poverty housing. The store, which is housed in a “recycled” Bi-Lo grocery store, uses the collected items to build homes for low-income families or to resell to the public to finance building projects. The ReStore Earth recycling program was developed in 2007 to expand the ReStore’s mission by collecting cell phones, aluminum, metal, batteries, ink cartridges, books, paper, cardboard and other recyclables. The program has resulted in keeping more than 2,300 tons of material out of the landfill.

Daimler Vans Manufacturing (DVM), an assembly plant for Mercedes-Benz/Freightliner Sprinter Vans, epitomizes the spirit of Earth Day with its commitment to environmental excellence and sustainability in its overall manufacturing operations. In April 2010, the company, located in Ladson, increased that commitment by beginning a Zero Waste to Landfill initiative that by the end of the year resulted in a 99.5 percent recycling rate. DVM disposed of 924 tons of material in its first year of operations in 2007, but reduced that amount to 53 tons in 2010. That number will be zero in 2011.

The Medical University of South Carolina was cited for making sustainability part of its everyday mission. MUSC began its recycling program in 1993 and added its sustainability program in 2005. Now a comprehensive program, MUSC’s initiatives include green building, energy and water conservation, green cleaning, green purchasing and a climate action plan. The university also supports a public transportation park and ride system. Many of the initiatives of MUSC’s Recycling and Sustainability Program have not only helped conserve resources as well as protect South Carolina’s environment, but also saved the university money.

The OIL 2.0 program is the perfect example of taking a waste and turning it into a profitable product. OIL 2.0 was conceived when U.S. Foodservice partner Waste Vegetable Oil owner Bill DeTorre came upon a restaurant employee struggling to properly dispose of cooking oil. DeTorre thought there had to be a better handling method and helped U.S. Foodservice develop the OIL 2.0 program, now nationally recognized and has recovered more than 5,100 pounds of waste vegetable oil from food service establishments across the state. That oil has been reprocessed into more than 520,000 gallons of B100 biodiesel fuel. Additional environmental impacts of this effort include improved air quality by reducing diesel emissions as well as reducing spills or releases of vegetable oil into the state’s waterways.

Sally Nicholson, in partnership with O’Leary-Cole, Inc., showed her commitment to the environment when building her dream home – an EarthCraft-certified home. Nicholson’s green home, finished in July 2010, was built to obtain energy and water savings along with attention to indoor air quality and recycling. Green aspects of the house include a sealed and insulated crawl space, rainwater harvesting, light tubes, a recycling center and solar energy use. Before construction, the site location was chosen within the city limits of Greenville to be close enough for the Nicholsons to bike to work. At least 40 percent of the lot was protected as green space and a tree preservation plan was created.

As part of the Earth Day Award program, three top 2011 Champions of the Environment winners were recognized. North Central High School, Kershaw County, was honored for its Lessons of Sustainability project that teaches others how to save energy and make sustainability a reality. Sandhills School, located in Columbia, was recognized for its Sustainability and Horticulture Project that uses passive solar energy for year-round gardening. Spartanburg Charter School was honored for The Green Scene, a bird habitat project.

Champions of the Environment, a partnership in its 18th year, promotes environmental education opportunities for South Carolina’s K-12 students through a grant and recognition program. For information on Champions, visit

NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: More information on the winning Earth Day projects is available at


For more information:
Richard Chesley (803) 896-4209
Stacey Gardner (803) 898-3300
Thom Berry (803) 898-3885