Each year the Smart Business Recycling Program recognizes Outstanding Waste Reduction & Recycling efforts throughout South Carolina. The state has a 40 percent recycling rate goal to reach by 2020, which can only be accomplished if businesses such as the award recipients reduce waste, recycle and report their progress. Read about the accomplishments of the 2019 award winners below.
Bridgestone Aiken County Off Road Tire Plant, Trenton
Bridgestone Aiken County Off Road Tire Plant (AOR) manufactures off-road mining tires out of a LEED certified facility located on 545 acres of certified longleaf pine habitat. In 2018, AOR recycled and reused more than 4,353 tons of material and earned more than $145,000 from the sale of its recyclables. To encourage recycling and zero waste, all team members and contractors are provided reusable mugs. About 35,000 gallons of rainwater per day is collected to reuse in boilers, cooling towers, toilets and irrigation. AOR also offers household hazardous waste collection for employees and reaches out to the community about their efforts through trade association meetings and professional organizations.
Lodge Alley Inn, Charleston
The Lodge Alley Inn (LAI), an 83-unit resort, promotes waste reduction and recycling to its staff and guests in a variety of ways. LAI recycled nearly three tons of material through Charleston’s curbside recycling program, thanks to conveniently placed recycling bins and ongoing educational efforts. LAI reduced waste by investing in reusable water bottles for staff and encouraging guests to use water fill stations. Other administrative changes such as default double-sided printing, purchase of recycled-content paper products and eliminating single-use cups and straws helped reduce waste. LAI also participated in the Hospitality Partner Program that recycles guest room soap to donate to the Clean the World Foundation.
In an effort to conserve water and energy, the hotel installed low-flow toilets, sinks, and showerheads as well as motion-sensor lighting and sheet changing cards that allowed guests the option to decline daily linen change service. A community program through LAI offers onsite bike rentals and a lending library of books and movies for guests during their stay.
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center recycled more than 330 tons of aluminum cans, cardboard, paper, plastic, metal, batteries, cardboard, electronics, food waste, inkjet and toner cartridges, cooking oil, lead aprons, solvents, lamps and bulbs. The cardboard and metal recycling programs alone generated more than $7,000 in revenue in 2018. Reuse and recycling onsite of alcohol, xylene and ink cartridges provided cost savings by avoiding the purchase of raw material, and hazardous waste is used for to waste-to-energy.
The facility composted more than five tons of food waste through CompostNow in 2018. They also implemented an Emergency Food Pantry- a collaboration between the Lowcountry Food Bank, the Tri-County Veterans Support Network and the VA. These programs help lower disposal costs.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, Aiken
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) is the contractor of Savannah River Site’s (SRS) management and operations, providing recycling to SRS’s population of 12,000 people. In 2018, 504 tons glass, metal, paper, cardboard, plastics were recycled out of 872 tons of waste generated, giving SRNS a 58 percent recycling rate. In addition, rather than landfilling more than 21,360 tons of asphalt and concrete from road repairs, the material will be reused to improve secondary roads both off and onsite.
SRNS employs many waste reduction and energy efficient programs including using wood waste to power the onsite biomass facility, replacing vehicles with more alternative fuel, hybrid and electric vehicles, and purchasing Energy Star qualified electronics. Five Cool Roofs were installed in 2018 that reflect sunlight and emit heat more efficiently, significantly reducing the costs associated with cooling buildings. SRS covers 310 square miles, so where possible SRNS is powering high-energy and monitoring equipment with solar panels and replacing helicopter surveillance flights with drones, which has greatly reduced emissions fuel usage.
SRNS leads recycling-focused employee engagement initiatives through a variety of events and outreach. A partnership with non-profit Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization (SRSCRO) sells excess government equipment and material generating $278,243 in revenue, then disbursing proceeds to the surrounding counties in South Carolina and Georgia.
ZF Transmissions, Gray Court
In 2018, ZF Transmissions, an 8-speed and 9-speed automatic transmissions manufacturer, recycled more than 7,300 tons of plastic, cardboard, scrap metal and pallets. The plant reduced waste through reuse of office supplies, double-sided printing and air hand dryers. As a result of its waste reduction and recycling programs, ZF was able to decrease disposal costs by $150,000. Their newest initiative was adding organics recovery in the summer of 2018, diverting more than seven tons within in six months. During America Recycles Day, ZF employees were encouraged to bring in hard-to-recycle items and provided with reusable tote bags and water bottles for ongoing education.