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Antifreeze Appliances Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) Electronics Gasoline and Gasoline/Oil Mixtures
Hazardous Household Products Mercury Thermometers Motor Oil, Oil Filters and Oil Bottles Paint Tires
Unwanted Medicine More Frequently Asked Questions What and Where to Recycle Recycling By the Numbers Information You Can Use

 

Although many items are accepted for recycling in South Carolina, it's not always obvious where or how to do so. The following list includes suggestions for recycling frequently asked about items. Not every county recycles the same items in the same way so it's always a good idea to contact your county recycling coordinator first to see what local options are available. 

   

Antifreeze

Many South Carolina county recycling programs accept antifreeze. You also can check with your local car dealership, automotive repair shop or quick lube to see if they recycle antifreeze.

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Appliances (e.g., refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, etc.) 

All South Carolina counties accept large appliances for recycling either at designated locations or through curbside pick up. In some cases, particularly with refrigerators and freezers, a fee may be charged to cover the proper removal of refrigerants as required by law.

 

 

   

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)

The Home Depot and Lowe's offer CFL recycling programs. At any U.S. Home Depot location, customers can give unbroken CFLs to the store associate at the returns desk for recycling. Visit The Home Depot website to find a store near you.

Customers can also bring unbroken CFLs to the recycling center found inside the entrance of participating Lowe's locations. Visit the Lowe's website to find a store near you. Be sure to check directly with the store before you go. Not all stores in national or regional chains recycle CFLs.

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Electronics

If the equipment still works, consider donating it to a non-profit organization. If it does not work or you cannot donate it, recycling options are available. Many manufacturers and retailers offer take-back programs. All counties and some municipalities offer permanent programs or one-day collection events to accept household electronics.

For more information on recycling electronics in South Carolina, visit E-cycle South Carolina.

  E-cycle South Carolina
   

Gasoline or Gasoline/Oil Mixtures 

Most South Carolina counties accept gasoline or oil/gasoline mixtures at designated drop-off sites. Use the county-by-county recycling list to find a drop-off site near you.

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Hazardous Household Products (e.g., automotive fluids, pesticides, etc.) 

Automotive fluids, cleaners, lawn and garden products, paint, pool chemicals and other common hazardous household products are often difficult to recycle. Currently, only four counties (Charleston, Georgetown, Horry and York) as well as one municipality (City of Aiken, which accepts yard chemicals only) have permanent programs.
Many other county programs offer single-day collection events. Residents that live in counties that do not offer permanent programs are encouraged to check with their county recycling coordinator to see if any single-day events are scheduled.

If an unwanted product cannot be recycled but is still sold in stores and contains a readable label, check to see if a neighbor or organization could use it. Otherwise, be sure to dispose of hazardous household products by following any instructions on the label. These products should not be poured down the drain or storm drain.

 
   

Mercury Thermostats

You can recycle your mercury thermostat thought a nationwide program offered by the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC). TRC has set up a network of businesses to collect mercury thermostats.

To find a recycling location near you, visit the Thermostat Recycling Corporation's website and enter your zip code. You also can check with your county recycling coordinator to see if mercury thermostats are collected.

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Motor Oil, Oil Filters and Oil Bottles

Used oil can be recycled at nearly 900 sites across the state offered by local governments and retail outlets such as Advance Auto, Auto Zone and Jiffy Lube.

Most county and some municipal programs also collect used motor oil filters and bottles from DIYers. Use the county-by-county recycling list to find a drop-off site near you.

   
   

Paint

If the paint still can be used, try to donate it to a non-profit, church, theater group or school. Many counties also accept usable latex paint from residents including Aiken, Charleston, FairfieldGreenvilleHamptonHorryLancaster, Pickens, Spartanburg and YorkCharleston and Hampton counties accept oil-based paint as well. Other local governments may offer single-day collection events.

If you are unable to donate or recycle your unwanted paint, you can prepare it for proper disposal by completing the following steps. 

  1. Remove the lid and allow the paint to air dry (harden) completely. Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area away from children and pets.
  2. You can add cat litter, shredded newspaper, saw dust or sand to the paint to speed up the drying process. Stir occasionally. You also can purchase a hardening agent at your local hardware or home supply store.
  3. Once the paint is completely dried, you can dispose of it with your household garbage.

More information is available about managing hazardous household products.

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Tires

All counties have collection programs that accept a minimal number of waste tires (usually about five) at drop-off recycling centers.

   
   

Unwanted Medicine

Flushing medication down the toilet threatens human health and the environment. You should dispose of unwanted medication in your household trash by following these steps.

  • Keep the medicine in its original container. The labels may contain safety information and the caps are typically child proof. Leaving the content information clearly visible, cover the patient’s name with a permanent marker.
  • Modify the medicines to discourage consumption. For solids, such as pills or capsules, add a small amount of water to the bottle to at least partially dissolve them. For liquid medicines, add enough table salt, flour or powdered spice (such as turmeric or mustard) to make a pungent, unsightly mixture that discourages anyone from taking it.
  • Seal and conceal. Tape the container’s lid shut with packing or duct tape. Place it in a bag or container such as an empty yogurt or margarine tub to ensure that the contents cannot be seen.
  • Discard the container in your garbage can. Do not place it in the recycling bin.

For more detailed instructions, see the "Proper Disposal of Unwanted Medicine" fact sheet.

CVS/PharmacyWalgreens Pharmacy and Rite Aid Pharmacy do not accept customer medications for disposal. They do, however, offer the TakeAway Environmental Return Program for purchase. Customers can buy a self-address envelope from the pharmacies for $3.99, fill with their unused/unwanted medications (EXCLUDING CONTROLLED MEDICATIONS) and mail them for secure and safe disposal. Call CVS/Pharmacy at 1-888-607-4287, Walgreens at 1-800-925-4733 or Rite-Aid at 1-800-748-3243 for more information.

Some local governments may also offer one-day take-back programs through their public safety or solid waste departments. Check with your local government to see if any events are scheduled.

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This Web page was last updated on September 19, 2013.