Smart Business It Works: Smart Business Recycling Success Stories

  • Educates all employees about the importance of recycling not only to the company, but to the city and environment
  • Recycles all of its paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum cans, inkjet/toner cartridges, old computers, batteries and DVD cases
  • Reuses cardboard boxes and paper as scratch/memo pads
  • Stocks its employee kitchen with reusable items only, including mugs, cups, plates and utensils
  • Uses inkjet/toner refills on about 90 percent of its printers and copiers
  • Purchases recycled-content copy paper and buys refurbished computers.

Bausch & Lomb (Greenville County)

  • Not only reduced disposal costs through its recycling program, yielded a net profit of $75,000
  • Recycles nearly 60 percent of the waste generated at its Greenville County facility, recycling cardboard, mixed paper, plastic, scrap metal and pallets as well as fiber and plastic drums
  • Created a recycling team with representatives from all departments to continuously look for new recycling opportunities and educate fellow employees through e-mails and posters. The team also plans the company's America Recycles Day event.

CDA Architects

  • Through classes and newsletters, educates employees on green events and new practices that can be implemented both at work and at home
  • Educates vendors on green building materials and gives clients tours of the office (which has many examples of recycled-content items including recycled garage doors, awnings, carpet tile and furniture)
  • Recycles various materials including glass, plastic, aluminum, paper, telephone books, compact fluorescent bulbs, batteries, cardboard, magazines, newspapers, inkjet/toner cartridges and computers
  • Uses electronic communications with employees and clients
  • Uses reusable glasses, coffee mugs, dishes and silverware instead of paper, plastic or Styrofoam
  • Provides filtered water through a piped-in water tower to replace individual water bottles
  • Uses double-sided copying and printing
  • Purchases items made from recycled materials including: paper, bathroom tissue, paper towels and facial tissue, manila and hanging file folders, desktop items (pen cups, desk organizers), sticky notes, legal pads and binders.

Cooper Standard Automotive (Spartanburg)

  • Found a vendor for plastic waste that had previously been sent to a landfill, a diversion resulting in a $15,600 per year cost savings while keeping 200,000 pounds of material from a landfill
  • Increased their recycling rate from 40 percent to more than 50 percent in one year
  • Recycles scrap metal, paper, cardboard and pallets.

Fort Jackson (Columbia)

  • In one year (FY11) earned about $2 million in revenue from the sale of recycled material and avoided $180,000 in landfill disposal fees
  • Operates one of the most comprehensive recycling programs in the state, accepting aluminum, plastic bottles, glass bottles, steel, cardboard, newspaper, paper, magazines, telephone books, yard trimmings, tires, electronics, scrap wood, fluorescent bulbs, latex paint, cooking oil, motor oil and antifreeze. Promotes its recycling program through training, outreach organizations, posters, articles and advertisements
  • Runs a green procurement effort in coordination with Federal procurement requirements, and aggressively pursues cost-effective, environmentally preferable products and services (e.g., recycled-content products, bio-based energy and water-efficient products and alternative fuel vehicles). The program's top achievement during fiscal year 2011 was the securing of a National Stock Number (NSN) identification system for bio-based penetrating lubricants and absorbents that is now used throughout the entire Department of Defense installations.
  • Requires installation personnel and contractors to recycle at least 50 percent of the renovation, construction and demolition debris. Two major projects during 2011 diverted about 95 percent of construction and demolition debris to reuse and recycle efforts.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (Gaffney)

  • Reduced waste disposal costs by 37 percent
  • Was selected as the pilot plant for Daimler Trucks North America's Zero Waste to Landfill initiative and met the initiative's goal of becoming landfill-free in less than two years
  • Established an employee 'Green Team'
  • Launched an internal environmental Web page to educate and motivate employees
  • Added recycling centers within its canteen and break areas
  • Sent staff to visit Subaru of Indiana to review its waste reduction program
  • Worked with contractors to finalize details for additional recycling options for the remaining waste stream
  • Initiated a plastic and rubber recycling program
  • Replaced hundreds of large trash cans with smaller recycling containers
  • Provides guidance to other Daimler Trucks North America plants on waste reduction and recycling efforts

International Automotive Components Group (Greenville)

  • Saved $125,000 in avoided disposal costs in FY11
  • Reduced the amount of material disposed of from 450 tons per month to less than 20 tons per month
  • Eliminated all landfill waste from its manufacturing process
  • Asked employees to work with the company's Continuous Improvement Team to brainstorm ideas for waste reduction and recycling opportunities
  • Partnered with a local community organization, the Greater Greenville Sanitation Commission (GGSC), on recycling material not only from their production line (e.g., cardboard, carpet trim, pallets, plastic wrap and banding), but also material generated from employees (e.g., cans, bottles and office paper)
  • Regularly looks for additional ways to reduce waste by conducting periodic waste audits to identify missed recycling opportunities
  • Holds annual environmental training to reinforce IAC's commitment to zero waste in addition to quarterly newsletters and bi-monthly corporate conference calls to report their actions and results
  • Promotes its recycling efforts to plant visitors, who receive a description of the program on the back of their visitor badge.

Lexington Medical Center (Lexington County)

  • Saves an average of $15,000 - $20,000 per year in solid waste services by diverting municipal, construction and medical waste to recycling
  • Promotes waste reduction and recycling to staff through its internal website that provides updated information and new ideas
  • Has an environmental purchasing policy in place to guide employees in their purchasing decisions
  • Recycles office paper, cardboard, pallets, construction and demolition debris, plastic, shrink wrap, newspaper and magazines, aluminum cans, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, printer cartridges and medical equipment.

Palmetto Primary Care Physicians (Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton  counties)

  • Has reduced disposal costs
  • Distributes recycling information to employees and encourages everyone to participate in the recycling program
  • Recycles office paper, cardboard, paperboard, metal, glass, plastic, rechargeable batteries, magazines, fluorescent tubes and inkjet cartridges
  • Uses ceramic coffee mugs (instead of Styrofoam)
  • Reuses packing supplies
  • Returns vaccination coolers back to the vendor for reuse
  • Mixes coffee grounds into the plant beds
  • Reused cabinetry and doors during a recent office expansion.

Rodeway Inn (Mt. Pleasant)

  • Switched to a waste removal service that diverts material destined for the landfill to the recycling bin, saving hundreds of dollars a year
  • Instituted a linen/towel reuse program for guests
  • Limited laundry cycles to full loads
  • Installed low-flow shower heads
  • Renovated landscaping to minimize water loss
  • Trades half-used toilet paper rolls in its guest rooms for use in the employee break rooms
  • Provides its guests and employees multiple opportunities to recycle various items such as plastic bottles (including shampoo), paper and aluminum cans as well as printer cartridges, light bulbs, other office supplies and even leftover bars of soap (through the Global Soap Project - an organization that recovers used soap from hotels and reprocesses it for distribution to hygiene-deprived populations)
  • Tries to purchase solely from vendors who provide sustainable product options or products that are Green Seal-certified, such as cleaning and laundry chemicals or recycled-content copy paper or plastics
  • Trains employees on green initiatives at monthly meetings

SAGE Automotive Interiors

  • Has saved money through avoided disposal costs
  • Recycles many materials including plastic drums and totes, yarn/fabric, metal, cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, film and tubes, wood pallets, fluorescent lamps and aluminum cans (more than 1,800 tons a year)
  • Looks for new ways to reduce waste including standardizing work procedures to reduce waste in the manufacturing process and reusing packaging
  • Prints on both sides of the paper
  • Uses only recycled-content paper products
  • Gives associates extensive recycling information for home and work through the facility's Environmental Safety Team, training and celebrations such as Earth Day, America Recycles Day and World Water Day.
  • Has significantly reduced the cost of waste disposal
  • Regularly trains employees on the recycling processes at the facility and encourages them to offer new ideas to improve the recycling effort
  • Recycles paper, grind wheels, used machine oil and coolant, scrap metal, batteries, plastic bottles, aluminum cans (which are collected for the Aluminum Cans for Burned Children program), pallets, scrap wood, cardboard, empty drums, computers, aerosol cans and fluorescent bulbs (1,011,267 pounds of material in 2010)
  • Reuses bags, pallets and cardboard boxes to minimize waste.
Fruit of the Loom (Summerville)
  • Reached 100 percent landfill free in 2012.
  • Recycled nearly 1/7 million pounds of material in 2012.
  • Generated more than $60,000 from the sale of recyclables.
  • Send cardboard to manufacturing facilities and retail establishments for reuse.
  • Reused 104 tons of cardboard in 2012.
  • Established a required  "Recycling Orientation" program for all employees.
  • Encourage recycling at home and at work.
Santee Cooper (Moncks Corner)
  • During 2012 recycled more than 1 million tons of material
  • Generated $3.4 million in revenue from recycling scrap metal, computers, miscellaneous heavy equipment, used electric poles, unwanted transformers, used motor oil as well as traditional recyclables such as paper and cardboard.
  • Educate employees through articles in the employee newsletter, posters, labels on containers, information on the Intranet and an educational video "Toss it Baby."
  • Santee Cooper switched to single stream recycling. This switch increased the amount of recyclables collected and reduced the volume of trash collected. Housekeeping staff was able to reduce the frequency with which trash cans were emptied from every night to three times per week and saved $153,000 in avoided disposal costs.
Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Inc. (Greer)
  • Helping to close the recycling loop with its Reprocess program. Post-industrial polyethylene terephthalate (PET) liners are collected from customers and returned to the site to be converted into resin for use int he PET film manufacturing process.
  • Recycle pallets, cardboard, aluminum cans, used motor oil, electronics and fluorescent lamps.
  • Purchase recycled-content materials such as fiber cores containing 100 percent post-consumer materials for use in packaging PET film.
  • Instituted a packaging return program through which pallets and flanges have been collected for reuse in packaging finished goods.
  • Procurement policies state that the purchase of recycled-content materials is preferred.
AnMed Health (Anderson)
  • Recycling program generated a savings of more than $56,000 to the system via avoided disposal costs, the sale of used equipment, cardboard, operating room surgical kit packaging, plastic and scrap metal.
  • Also recycle paper, plastic bottles, steel cans, glass bottles, electronics, hard drives, batteries, light bulbs, cooking oil and pens.
  • Educate employees by placing helpful hings about recycling on its online employee portal and on TV monitors in waiting rooms, lobbies and other common areas.
  • Reach out to the community by hosting a free shredding and computer/hard drive recycling day for Anderson County.
Old Village Post House (Mt. Pleasant)
  • Use bones and meat scraps to make stocks.
  • Reuse special sheets as note pads.
  • Use the back side of menus to print new menus.
  • Return cardboard to all suppliers.
  • Have Environmental and Sustainable Procedure policies.
  • Recycle glass, aluminum, paper and plastic.
  • Purchase refilled toner cartridges, recycled-content to-to containers, copy paper, paper towels and stationary.
  • Strive to purchase food without hormones, chemicals or harmful fertilizers as well as free-range and sustainably raised meat products.

Timken Company, Honea Path

  • In 2013, recycled 92 percent of its waste including plastic, aluminum cans, metal, wood, paper and swarf - waste metal shavings that result from the company's manufacturing process.
  • Use recycled cardboard and successfully incorporated reused cardboard and bubble wrap into its procurement process.
  • As a result of its waste reduction and recycling programs, Timken earned $7,200 from the sale of recyclables and saved an additional $12,422 in avoided disposal costs in 2013.
  • Reuse wooden pallets and Matched Bearing Assembly (MBA) packaging.
  • Pallets are back shipped to suppliers, plants and the warehouse and MBA packaging is reused instead of recycled.
  • In 2013, reused 6.8 miles of pallets and enough boxes of MBA packaging to cover more than 20,000 square feet. This initiative saved the facility $140,354 in avoided costs.
  • Educate employees about recycling by providing training three times a year.
  • To encourage year-round environmental stewardship, employees are given incentives like reusable bags and water bottles.
  • Associates also are active in the community, picking up litter and working with local schools.
  • In 2013, the facility initiated "Newspapers to Pencils" in which associates donated newspapers that were made into pencils for use in Anderson School District 2 classrooms. In the first year, 10,000 pencils were donated through the program.

CCL Label

  • Reduces packaging waste by requesting cores from its suppliers that can be reused and ensure products are delivered in reusable plastic shipping containers. By using returnable containers, the company saves 25,000 cartons each year.
  • Purchase cardboard boxes are made with recycled material.
  • Leftover cardboard is donated to Open Door Ministry in Clinton, which sells the cardboard to earn money for their local shelter and food programs.
  • Employees collect and donate aluminum cans to the local Hospice resale store.
  • Recycle wood, paper, pallets, plastic, aluminum, steel drums, totes, scrap metal and toner cartridges - the sale of which earned the company $20,000 in FY13.
  • Saved $43,852 in waste disposal costs due to aggressive waste reduction and recycling efforts.
  • The money generated from the sale of recyclables is used to fund employee activities and encourage them to be more sustainable. For example, CCL Label has purchased reusable cups and bags for its employees to promote reuse at work and home.

Joint Base Charleston

  • Recycle many items including metal, tires, used oil, batteries, light bulbs, cooking oil, paper, cardboard and plastics.
  • To encourage recycling, each individual workstation on the base is issued a recycling bin and most building break and kitchen areas have centralized recycling centers.
  • Articles are submitted regularly to the local newspaper to provide consistent and timely recycling information.
  • In 2013, the Base made more than $268,000 from the sale of recyclables and saw a reduction in disposal costs of almost $7,000.
  • Products and services must meet green standards regardless of method or dollar value of the purchase. This green procurement policy includes not only recycled content products but extends to energy-efficient items, alternative fuels, bio-based products, non-ozone depleting substances and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency priority chemicals.
  • To educate the community about recycling and other environmental issues, the Base holds an annual Earth Day event for local fifth-grade classes. The event includes poster, essay and school mural contests as well as demonstrations and exhibits from other environmental organizations.

Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission

  • Promote recycling and waste reduction to staff park patrons.
  • Staff and patrons are encouraged to recycle a variety of material including paper, newspaper, magazines, unwanted mail, plastic, metal, cardboard and glass.
  • The Commission's fleet recycles tires, batteries, motor oil and filters and used equipment.
  • Saved almost $2,500 in disposal costs.
  • Collect non-traditional recyclables such as chip bags and candy wrappers through TerraCycle at headquarters and water parks.
  • Collects material for composting at water parks, composting 16,300 pounds of waste in the 2013 season.
  • Reuse construction material and incorporate recycled lumber into decks and patios.
  • The Stewardship Committee educates staff on waste reduction and recycling efforts through newsletters, e-mails, announcements and employee fairs.
  • Staff volunteer at community environmental events such as beach sweeps and green fairs to spread the word about environmental stewardship in the community.
  • Host backyard composting workshops
  • Promote green meetings at park facilities.
  • Charleston Green Business Challenge member.

Hampton Inn & Suites Greenville Downtown, Greenville

  • Promote waste reduction and recycling to employees and guests in a variety of ways.
  • Recycle cardboard, paper, newspaper, ink cartridges and plastic.
  • Use recycled-content products throughout the facility including recycled content dinnerware, toilet paper and paper towels.
  • Due to its recycling and waste reduction efforts, the hotel was able to save $1,879 in 2013.
  • Reduced water and energy use by implementing a linen reuse program and installing green thermostats in guestrooms and public areas to conserve energy when rooms are not in use.
  • Participate in "LightStay," a Hilton Brand program that allows the facility to track and measure its sustainability performance using metrics such as energy, water, carbon, paper product usage and waste.
  • All employees are trained on the hotels green practices within 30 days of hire, and housekeeping staff are offered a monetary incentive to encourage them to return room keys for reuse.
  • Reduces waste and gives back to the community by donating newspapers and discarded linens to the Greenville Humane Society.
  • The Hampton Inn has been recognized as a TripAdvisor Green Leader.

More information about the S.C. Smart Business Recycling Program Recognition and Awards Program is available. Apply for an award


Recycling Program Smart Business Success Stories