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Why recycle?

Recycling is the recovery of useful material such as paper, glass, plastic, metal and organics from the waste stream and turning that material into new products. By choosing to recycle, South Carolinians are doing their part to help protect the environment and support the state’s economy.

Benefits of recycling

  • By turning waste into valuable raw material, recycling creates jobs, generates income and produces tax revenue.
  • Recycling is an essential part of the nation’s and South Carolina’s economy. The state’s recycling industry, which is comprised of more than 500 companies, is responsible for more than 22,000 jobs and has an annual $1.3 billion economic impact.
  • Recycling conserves resources, saves energy, reduces litter and prevents pollution caused by the extraction and processing of raw material.
  • Recycling lessens the need to build landfills and incinerators.
  • Recycling helps avoid disposal costs.
  • Recycling contributes to a sustainable future.
Three Steps to Recycle

Additional benefits: Environmental Equivalencies

There are additional but often overlooked benefits of recycling. Environmental equivalencies – which can be measured using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model – offer a different perspective.

South Carolinians recycled nearly 1.1 million tons of material in fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016) resulting in an environmental equivalent of:

  • Removing emissions of 488,867 passenger cars; or
  • Conserving 259,117,577 gallons of gasoline; or
  • Eliminating the energy use of 209,514 homes.

Recycling is convenient for South Carolina’s residents

Each of the state’s 46 counties has a residential recycling program. Overall, there are more than 80 curbside programs, nearly 600 drop-off centers, local recycling events throughout the state and more than 900 collection sites for do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changers. To find out what you can recycle and where you can recycle it, visit www.scdhec.gov/recycleheresc.