Page 1

Supporting the recycling industry in S.C. | 2012

Goal of zero Companies cut waste sent to landfill

Smart jobs

Recycling means paychecks

Matches made

Turning trash to treasure Sponsored by

In Partnership With


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Contents 4

About this publication


About our Sponsors


Welcome from our partners



12 smart Jobs Recycling means paychecks in S.C.


cover Story New goal: Zero waste to landfill Recycling is smart for reasons both economic and environmental. With that thought in mind, some of S.C.’s largest companies have cut their waste sent to landfills to zero. Read about how they did it. Cover and Table of Contents Photos/Sonoco Recycling/by Jeff Blake

18 smart Entrepreneurs Recycling startups grow economic footprint while treading lightly on environment 21 smart Web Your recycling guide online 22 smart Collaboration Turning waste into treasure 22

Profiles: Special Advertising Section

40 smart Thinking ‘Good to be part of the solution’ 44 smart Resources • Recycling Market Development

Advisory Council

• S.C. Recycling Council • Recycling Businesses in S.C. • Other resources

46 smart Product


About this Publication


hen we started creating the inaugural issue of RecyclonomicsSC, we assessed the project from creation-to-delivery to find the most environmentally friendly way to produce a publication focused on how to be more green. We quickly realized the breadth of what businesses must consider when focusing on the impact of business on the environment. We also learned that once you start making decisions with sustainability in mind, you often find more options for other environmentally sound choices. The most obvious place to start in the print industry is with the paper. We worked closely with our printer, Walton Press, and decided on a paper stock that was certified by the Forest Ryan Wilcox Stewardship Council. FSC promotes environmentally sound, Creative Director socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. Paper producers and printers go through a certification process to ensure they adhere to FSC standards. Walton Press and the stock provider, Suzano Pulp and Paper, are both FSC certified. The paper stock you’re reading this on comes from eucalyptus seedlings, one of the fastest growing hardwoods in the world, so it’s more quickly replaced, and the forests are more easily managed. We also used soy-based ink instead of petroleum-based ink. The printing process is cold set, instead of heat set, which means ink dries using less energy. That allowed us to use an uncoated paper, which takes less energy to produce and can be recycled more easily. We hope you enjoy the content inside RecyclonomicsSC, and if you decide to recycle this publication, you can feel confident that you’ll be fueling the sustainability engine in the best way possible.


n economic development, there are three general ways to create jobs: recruitment of outside industry, fostering of start-up businesses, and growth/retention of existing companies. New Carolina SC Council on Competitiveness, focuses on the latter. We identify core industries where South Carolina already has an economic advantage and critical mass, and we help them to grow through cluster development. Cluster development increases productivity through competition, builds trust through collaboration, and increases access to shared resources such as skilled workforce and improved infrastructure. To organize a cluster, New Carolina convenes the top industry stakeholders and works to facilitate a vision for the industry. With the industry, we develop a plan to overcome obstacles for that vision enabling the cluster members to achieve more together than they can alone. We design solutions that make our companies more competitive in their industry by staying in South Carolina. Some of our key industries and their New Carolina initiated clusters are transportation, distribution and logistics — The TDL Council, the nuclear sector -- Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster, insurance technology and services — ITs|SC Columbia’s Insurance and Technology Services Cluster, and the recycling sector — RecyclonomicsSC. New Carolina is very excited about the opportunities for growth and impact with the recycling cluster. This is a dynamic group of innovative people working in a very important industry with global implications. We are increasing our expectations for recycling participation without overburdening our citizens. As we say at RecyclonomicsSC — Small Changes, Big Returns.


President and Group Publisher | Grady Johnson Vice President of Sales | Steve Fields Accounting Department | Vickie Deadmon Managing Editor | Andy Owens Senior Copy Editor | Beverly Barfield Special Projects Editor | Licia Jackson Staff Photographer | Leslie Burden Contributing Photographer | Jeff Blake Contributing Writers Mary Jane Benston, Holly Fisher, Ross Norton Creative Director | Ryan Wilcox Senior Graphic Designer | Jane Mattingly Graphic Designer | Jean Piot Director of Business Development | Mark Wright Account Executive | Reneé Piontek Circulation and Event Manager | Kathy Allen Circulation, Event and Business Coordinator Kim McManus The entire contents of this publication are ­copyright by SC Business Publications LLC with all rights reserved. Any reproduction or use of the content within this p ­ ublication without permission is prohibited. SCBIZ and South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Mailing address: 389 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite 200 Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 Phone: 843.849.3100 • Fax: 843.849.3122 SC Business Publications LLC A portfolio company of Virginia Capital Partners LLC Frederick L. Russell Jr., Chairman

Corporate & Commercial Publishing Division

Welcome from our Sponsor Presenting Sponsor


onoco Recycling is proud to present the first

One of our top priorities is to provide education

publication dedicated to recycling in South

throughout South Carolina regarding the benefits

Carolina, RecyclonomicsSC. As a leader in

of recycling, both financially and environmentally.

recycling, founded in Hartsville, S.C., we are excited

RecyclonomicsSC gives South Carolinians the chance

about this unique opportunity to expand awareness

to communicate best practices, learn of existing

within our great state amongst a broad set of con-

efforts and understand more about this growing

sumers with ever-changing recycling needs. Sonoco

initiative to recycle.

Recycling is honored to serve the recycling needs of

Thank you for staying involved. We hope you will

municipalities, businesses and residents with our

let us know how Sonoco Recycling can help you

material recovery facilities (MRFs) and operations

achieve your recycling goals.

throughout the state.

Sponsored by

In Partnership With


State of Recycling from Commerce

Letter from New Carolina


more than 450 recycling


businesses and an estimat-

cling Reflex.” His opening

ed 20,000 jobs created by

paragraph was:

he green industry is strong in the

n July 25, 2012, the New York Times ran

Palmetto State. With

an article by David

Borstein called “The Recy-

this sector, environmental sustainabil-

“What if there were something

ity is proving to be good for business

that could create 1.5 million new

in South Carolina.

jobs, reduce carbon emissions equal

As the state’s recycling businesses

cut dependence on foreign oil, in-

choose South Carolina as the perfect

crease exports, save water, improve

place to go green and make green, we

air quality and reduce toxic waste?

are well-positioned to support and

What if it were low-cost and readily

promote this industry.

implemented? Wouldn’t everyone do

The state’s success and increas-

Bobby Hitt

S.C. Secretary of Commerce

to taking 50 million cars off the road,

continue to grow and new companies

ing reputation in the recycling sector show that we are on the right track:

George Fletcher Executive Director Emeritus

it? At a time of wildfires, droughts and persistent unemployment, wouldn’t it be a centerpiece of the presidential campaign? Well, there is such a thing.

In 2011, the recycling industry announced $333

South Carolina currently has more than 450 recycling

jobs with 15 new or existing companies investing in

companies. Since 2006, the state has announced $4 billion

South Carolina.

in investments and 6,000 jobs, according to the S.C. Depart-

South Carolina has four times more jobs in recy-

ment of Commerce. Many of these jobs are in rural areas.

cling per capita than California or Massachusetts, •

It’s called recycling.”

million in capital investment, a creation of over 800

In 2011, the state recycled only 27.7% of the potential

both of whom are leaders in recycling

material. Every 10% increase beyond this 27% represents

State recycling programs and initiatives divert

2,000 jobs and another billion dollars in investment. If we

thousands of tons of materials from landfills and

could reach the RecyclonomicsSC goal of 70%, we would

recycle them for productive functions

be looking at another 8,000 jobs and $2.4 billion in invest-

Local governments, commercial businesses and

ments. This is an enormous opportunity.

recyclers alike have access to an abundance of recycling markets in South Carolina. Recycling and responsible material management make

RecyclonomicsSC is currently generating a menu of policy options that could be adopted, including: •

bans on specific materials to landfills

pay-as-you-throw strategies that provide economic

a difference. Engaging in recycling ensures that these products go to recyclers close by. The benefit is direct – companies grow, resulting in more local jobs and tax revenues. South Carolina’s green state of mind is further demonstrated by Commerce’s Recycling Market Development Advisory Council and staff’s combined efforts to attract and develop businesses in our state. From entrepreneurs who provide new recycling busi-

incentive to recycling •

financial and/or non-financial incentives for becoming a zero waste facility

RecyclonomicsSC will hold their annual legislative day on Feb. 20, 2013. RecyclonomicsSC has contracted with New Carolina to provide management and executive director services. I will be serving as their executive director from New Carolina’s

ness options to flagship companies that convert recycled

Greenville office. The entire New Carolina team looks for-

materials, South Carolina’s recycling industry is leading

ward to working with RecyclonomicsSC and growing this

the way in the green economy.

dynamic business.


RecyclonomicsSC boosts greening of South Carolina


ruly nothing could be finer than Greening of Carolina, and there is no better example of green than RecyclonomicsSC. RecyclonomicsSC, an initiative of

the S.C. Recycling Council, is a new business-oriented organization in the state focused on recovery of recyclable material for industry growth. While many groups have been singing the environmental praises of recycling for years, RecyclonomicsSC

packaging containers, and materials to recycle. South

is helping companies in South Caro-

Carolina’s recycling rate of 27.7 percent is low compared to

lina to lead the charge in recycling

many other states and the national average of 34.1 percent.

with resounding bottom-line benefits.

So, how can we all sing from the same sheet of music?

Businesses recognize that the small

RecyclonomicsSC will work with its partners in recycling to

changes made by subscribing to the

help raise the recycling rate by:

lean, clean and green mantra of recy-

cling lead to big returns for them and

Tina Green Huskey


their communities. RecyclonomicsSC

about recycling’s economic value •

businesses then download economic benefits from recycling made up of en-

Working with universities, industry and other partners to identify technical solutions to roadblocks

creation, avoided emissions, and corporate sustainability.

hindering growth in recycling •

a national leader in the recycling industry in terms of job creation, investment and providing sustainable markets

Promoting policy to raise South Carolina’s recycling rate

ergy savings, material reuse, green job The RecyclonomicsSC vision is for South Carolina to be

Educating businesses, people, and elected officials

Addressing supply chain gaps and recruit industry to the state

Fans of RecyclonomicsSC recognize that recycling

for recyclable materials. So, how are we doing on the vi-

not only creates new opportunities, but it also sup-

sion quest?

ports local governments and commercial business-

On the job creation, investment, and markets front, South Carolina has other states beat. •

20,000 jobs in recycling

$4 billion in investment since 2006;

• •

es by providing access to an abundance of recycling markets. From the greening of the environment to the greening

$333 million of that in 2011

of corporate bottom lines, RecyclonomicsSC is the per-

4 times more jobs in recycling per capita

sonification of South Carolina’s ability to harmoniously

than California or Massachusetts

assemble people, industry, academia and ideas with a posi-

475 recycling businesses

tive economic outcome. I welcome you to make a small

What is the issue, then? We are doing great in recycling, right? No, not exactly. Despite the fact that we have a ro-

change today and join us for a big return to the quality of life we all enjoy in South Carolina!

bust industry, South Carolina is at a recycling cliff for available recycled material supply, where materials destined for

Tina Green Huskey, Chair

the landfill dwarf those destined for recycling. Companies

RecyclonomicsSC, an initiative of the

are facing a critical shortage of recycled bottles, cans,

South Carolina Recycling Council


Upfr nt Recycling is not only smart: It is huge in South Carolina. More than 475 companies, large and small, make recycling their business. About 20,000 South Carolinians work in recycling every day. Here are a few facts about why recycling is important.

$11 billion

1.4 Pounds

Estimated total economic impact of

of MSW recycled per person per day in S.C.

recycling in S.C. for 2011 Source: The 2011 S.C. Solid Waste Management Annual Report


S.C.’s recycling efforts have resulted in an environmental impact equivalent to conserving this many gallons of gas.

Source: The 2011 S.C. Solid Waste Management Annual Report

Recycling 1 glass bottle will save enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Recycling defi

Municipal So

lid Waste (M


SW) The combine d residential and commercia waste genera l solid ted in an area . MSW include cans, bottles, s paper, food scraps, ya rd trimmings items. Indust and other rial process w aste, agricultu mining waste ra l waste, and sewage slu dge are not co MSW. nsidered Recycling Rate

The measure ment of activ ities by which materials are discarded collected, sorte d, processed an verted into ra d conw materials an d used to mak products. e new

Recycling 1 aluminum can will run a computer for 3 hours.

Source: Aluminum Association


Total Solid W aste (TSW

) Includes not only MSW bu t construction tion debris, pr and demoliocess waste an d any other m that is genera aterial ted. Source: S.C. De partment of He alth & Environ Control’s Office mental of Solid Waste Reduction & Re cycling

Recycling... It’s what we do.

We see waste as a potential resource and create opportunities for recovery that reduce cost, increase profit and decrease environmental impact.

Corporate Office Ninety Six, SC 864-543-9912

CU-ICAR Office Greenville, SC 864-214-7127


Upfr nt

Retro recycling As it turns out, one of our country’s older charities was into recycling more than 100 years ago. Goodwill Industries was “organized to save material waste and turn it into human well-being,” wrote its founder, the Rev. Edgar Helms. A few numbers: In the Upstate and Midlands, 39 million pounds of goods were donated last fiscal year. In the Lowcountry in 2011, 13.5 million pounds of recyclables were kept out of the landfill. “Our goal is to keep maximizing the value of anything

Wear your support on your car You can show your support for recycling with a special South Carolina vehicle license plate. The Reduce Reuse Recycle plate is available to all state residents for $30 plus

that has use,” says Crystal Hardesty, director of marketing and public relations for Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands S.C. As an example, Goodwill gets lots of T-shirts donated, Hardesty says, and some just don’t sell. So employees use an industrial cutter to transform the old shirts into 12-inch squares, repackaged as GoodWipes cleaning cloths. They’re big sellers at $1.29 per pound. Goodwill stores in South Carolina and across the U.S.

the regular registration fee. A portion of this fee supports

partner with Dell on computer recycling. Donated com-

the S.C. recycling industry, providing education and

puters are stripped of any parts that contain personal

increasing awareness.

information, and everything else – plastics, metals, glass – is recycled by Dell.

Grinding of the Greens When the holidays are over, the life of your Christmas tree is not quite ended. Many communities in South

A more recent addition to the Goodwill business model is Stores from all over post items for sale on this auction website.

Paper or plastic? Neither! The family grocery bag legacy lives on in Kristen Brown

Carolina collect the castoff trees and turn them into

of Pawleys Island. Her father, Gordon Dancy, invented the

mulch. In the Midlands and in Greenville, the Grinding of

plastic grocery bag, which went into use about 1980. Now,

the Greens is a well-established custom.

the plastic bag’s time has run out. To offer an alternative

Residents can drop off their Christmas

that is more fun, Brown invented MY ECO, a reusable shop-

trees at a number of points, starting the

ping bag system.

day after Christmas. Around the sec-

The bags are made of recycled polypropylene, the

ond or third weekend in January, the

plastic used in yogurt containers. The four-bag set has an

trees are ground into mulch, which

insulated tote for cold items, and one each for glass bottles

is given away free. But you’d better

and jars, produce, and dry items and boxes. The four hold

get there early! Other places that

a week’s worth of groceries for Brown’s family of four, and

have been recycling holiday trees

when full they fit neatly into a shopping cart.

are Beaufort, Horry, Kershaw and

Brown has a program with schools to sell bags as a

Oconee counties, and the city

fund-raiser. They can also be purchased from her website,

of Florence. Contact your local, at a cost of $24.95 per set.

government to find out about plans for this year.

“We’re headed toward zero waste,” said Brown, a recycling and waste reduction consultant. “I’ll do anything I can do to make it easier.”


Upfr nt

Economic Development Announcements Related to Recycling, 2012 Company


No. jobs


$900 M






$3.5 M



BMW Nucor Corp. Pratt Industries

$16 M




Lowcountry Biomass

$750 M


Anderson, Lexington

Diversified Plastics

$2.5 M



Grace Plastics

$1.2 M



US Fibers

$5.5 M



Encore Container

$3.9 M



PyroTec Inc.

$10 M



$7 M




$23 M



Con-Pearl North America

$14 M



$5 M






Polydeck Screen Corp.

Henry Molded Products Inc. McGill Environmental Systems

Source: S.C. Department of Commerce

S.C. can do

BETTER 1.2 million tons

$171 million

of easily recyclable material – paper, cans,

statewide net loss in unattained revenues and paid

plastic and glass bottles went to S.C. landfills,

disposal costs, as well as the missed opportunity for


jobs and investments by recycling businesses and manufacturers, 2009-2011. Source: S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control


s. Tires are shred proces fore the first be g, in eslie Burden) cl /L cy to into Viva Re pment.. (Pho e ui m eq co g ey in th dd age the shre checks tires as at could dam Ricky Jackson her debris th ot d an s m ri checked for


smart Jobs

smart Jobs

Recycling means paychecks in S.C. By Mary Jane Benston


arty Sergi sees enormous opportunity for job cre-

ager for recycling market development, says an additional

ation in South Carolina’s recycling industry, and

5,000 jobs have been added over the last five or six years,

he is helping it happen in Berkeley County.

counting jobs that were announced only through Com-

Sergi’s company last year established a tire recycling

and rubber products manufacturing facility in an existing

merce. Evaluating the impact of the industry in 2006, the econ-

plant in Moncks Corner. After retrofitting

omists estimated that for every recycling

the plant and moving a manufacturing

job in South Carolina, an additional 1.4 jobs

business there from China, Viva Recycling of South Carolina has 53 employees and plans to add about 100 by the end of 2013. Sergi plans to move beyond tires into other lines of recycling. “South Carolina’s recycling (rate) is one of the lowest in the country, so the opportunity is enormous. There are literally thousands if not tens of thousands of jobs that South Carolina does not have because

“South Carolina’s recycling (rate) is one of the lowest in the country, so the opportunity is enormous.”

were created though the ripple effect of

Marty Sergi Viva Recycling of South Carolina

economists concluded the recycling jobs

spending by firms and employees. At the time, there were 340 firms listed in Commerce’s directory of recycling businesses. The firms ranged in size from 1 employee to 553, and the average salary reported in the industry was $32,229. The were “relatively good jobs in a state where the average salary (was) reported to be

it’s landfilling most of its waste streams,”

$31,940 for all occupations in all indus-

he said.


The S.C. Department of Commerce “conservatively” esti-

“Recycling makes jobs and brings paychecks to South

mates there are 20,000 recycling jobs in the state. In a 2006

Carolina,” said Ronnie Grant, chairman of the state’s Recy-

study, economists at the College of Charleston estimated

cling Market Development Advisory Council.

there were 15,600 jobs attributable to recycling activities.

What’s the potential for South Carolina to gain jobs

Chantal Fryer, the Commerce Department’s senior man-

in recycling? Grant and other leaders in the industry say


smart Jobs

Recycled rubber products can be used for mulch in landscapes and on play areas. (Photos/Viva Recycling) Viva Recycling processes shredded tires into mulch for playgrounds. (Photo/Leslie Burden)

that the success of recycling businesses depends in large part on the recycling efforts of households, businesses and governments.

landfills rather than going back into production.” Grant, a senior account representative for Sonoco, has over 40 years’ experience in recycling. The industry has

Recycling is like a “field of


dreams,” subject to the proverbial “If you build it they will come,” says Grant. “If the volume is there, they will come.” Unfortunately, however, in South Carolina recycling vol-

That’s how many jobs the S.C. Department of

says, and “hopefully, it can get bigger now with single-stream coming on line versus sortedat-the-curb.” In single-stream recycling, materials are mixed

Commerce “conservatively” estimates there are in when they are collected, and

ume is not what it could be. In a 2010 strategic plan prepared

the recycling industry.

for the recycling industry, the framers noted, “While technological innovation is increasing the recycling capabilities and applications well beyond imagination, there is a wealth of material being lost to


had a large growth capacity, he

then they are separated at materials recovery facilities (MRFs, pronounced “murfs” in

the industry). Municipalities converting from recycling bins to roll-cart collections usually have a 40% to 45% increase in collec-

smart Jobs

Tires are ground to the landscape mulch size, prior to being colored. (Photos/Leslie Burden)

tions, Grant says. Residents find it easier to get recyclables to the curb, and municipalities find them easier to collect.

Gerry Beauford inspects playground material as it is being made.

ing them into fiber. Commerce puts the number of recycling companies at

“It makes everybody’s life better,” Grant says.

more than 475 now. While the concentrations of recycling

If more recyclables are collected, MRFs could expand

operations are greatest in the populous Charleston, Colum-

their hours. And there would be more PET plastics, carpet,

bia and Greenville regions, numerous plants are scattered

aluminum, steel cans and paper going to the S.C. firms that

across the S.C. landscape, providing employment in the

crave those materials.

outskirts and rural communities as well.

And South Carolina could see more jobs. The education levels required for jobs in the recycling industry can range from high school to college degree-plus, Grant says. “There’s a lot of technology involved in these

In the Lowcountry tire recycling plant where Viva is operating now, employment was down to only six workers when Sergi, president and COO, arrived last year. “There was a trend where our scrap tires . . . were being

MRFs now.” The same is true in the processes that reuse

exported to China to make products from the rubber that

the materials, such as shredding plastic bottles and turn-

was recycled out of the tires to literally sell that product


smart Jobs

Marty Sergi of Viva Recycling says recycling Chris Misner fabricaties a catch-all plate for the first shred process at Viva Recycling. succeeds when it is driven by the private sector.

back on the shelves of Lowe’s and Home Depot, etc.,” Sergi

a training course that was tailored for the Viva jobs. The


same hiring and training system will be used as the plant

“We started here again with the help of Commerce, bought all new equipment and retrofitted, plus brought the

expands, Sergi says. About 2 million scrap tires, mainly from South Carolina,

equipment from China to make the products that we’re

come into the plant now. The goal is to take that total to 5

making now.” The Moncks Corner facility and other plants

million when an upcoming expansion is completed.

use recycled rubber to manufacture PermaLife products,

Sergi says recycling is successful when driven by the

which are found in gym flooring, playground surfaces, ath-

private sector, with the public sector just helping. It can’t

letic fields, sidewalks and asphalt additives.

be based on government subsidies, he says. “Government

The S.C. Technical College System’s workforce training

subsidies ultimately don’t work. It eventually falls apart.”

program, readySC, helped Viva put employees in place by

“Recycling, wherever it’s given its fair chance and is

advertising a job fair and by assisting with interviews and

based on economics . . . then you usually can have a win-

the selection process. Trident Technical College sponsored

ner and you can produce a lot of jobs.”


smart Entrepreneurs

Recycling startups grow economic footprint while treading lightly on environment By Holly Fisher


mart entrepreneurs have the forethought and vision

DwellSmart offers a line of building products, including

to recognize an industry on the verge of growth.

wood, paint, lighting, plumbing, tile and carpeting. Plus, it

That’s the case with startups around South Carolina

showcases recycled countertops from fellow Charleston

who saw the potential of the recycling market and jumped in with both feet. Some have been around several years and others are just getting started, but all see what a pivotal role recycling, reducing and

green business, Fisher Recycling. Every product sold by DwellSmart must meet one or more of its core criteria: sustain, protect, conserve, reduce and share.

reusing play in our economy, culture and

DwellSmart has also partnered with na-


tional company TerraCycle, which recycles

The following South Carolina busi-

those often hard-to-reuse products like

nesses are turning trash to treasure,

drink pouches, yogurt cups and chip

providing recycling equipment and

bags. TerraCycle turns that trash into

helping homeowners and business-

a variety of products from lunch boxes

es take another step toward sustain-

and notebooks to totebags and jewelry.


DwellSmart is the official online retailer for TerraCycle, stocking and selling its



Charleston |

As recycling becomes more main-

Five years ago Mary Gatch start-

stream, a company like DwellSmart

ed DwellSmart with a mission of

fills an even larger need – especially in

providing products that not only

the green building industry.

improved the health of customers but

“Trends in recycling have been

were good for environmental health

driven by LEED certification and

as well. With a large showroom plus an online store, DwellSmart is meeting its mission. Products include gifts, toys, cloth-

that’s a really good thing,” Gatch said. DwellSmart partners with TerraCycle to sell its products made of recycled chip bags and drink pouches. (Photo/DwellSmart)

“As people are trying to build LEED houses or buildings, they are trying to get the points for using recycled

ing, baby items, personal care products, jewelry, office

content. We’re seeing more and more products that are

supplies and cleaning supplies. The company also sells

coming out and available.”

organic mattresses, home décor and gardening items.


smart Entrepreneurs

Becker Complete Compactor Inc. Columbia | When Keith and Cassandra Becker relocated to South Carolina from Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s, they were used to sorting their trash and recycling. But in South Carolina they found recycling was almost unheard of, Cassandra Becker said. So it made sense to focus their business on repairing roll-off and front-load container vehicles. But as time went on, they couldn’t shake the idea that, even though recycling wasn’t common, the companies that did have recycling equipment would have a real need for repair work. Keith Becker and his son went through a training program with recycling systems manufacturer Marathon Equipment to learn how to repair compactors and balers. That side of the business grew, and soon the Beckers decided to turn all their attention to the recycling side of their company. They sold off the other piece of the business and have been solely focused on Becker Complete Compactor for three years. In addition to doing equipment repairs in the Carolinas and parts of Georgia, they also sell used equipment and parts online to buyers all over the country. The company stays on top of new developments in the industry, such as the Bayne’s BEST Lift System that lifts and dumps a trash can into a larger trash bin. This device cuts down on workplace injuries caused by employees lifting heavy trash cans. The Beckers are also looking into a digester product that can turn food waste into water. These products that can save businesses money are

Fisher Recycling has added a reuse component with its recycled glass countertops, part of the GlassECO line. (Photo/Fisher Recycling)

quickly gaining ground in the recycling industry. “Busi-

Fisher Recycling

nesses will spend money for things that will save them

Charleston |

money,” Cassandra Becker said.

Over the last two decades, Fisher Recycling has been collecting glass bottles as well as paper, plastic and old electronics as it helped Charleston-area businesses reduce their carbon footprint and eliminate trash from the landfills. Fisher Recycling educates its customers, helping them become more environmentally conscious, while creating a customized plan to help them reduce waste. “Tailoring each business to meet its optimal recycling program is our specialty and our goal,” Chris Fisher said. In recent years, Fisher Recycling has maintained its focus on recycling while adding a reuse component with the addition of its GlassECO line of products. This line includes recycled glass countertops and crushed glass used


smart Entrepreneurs

for landscape cullet for driveways and other decorative

its products in the United States, further reducing environ-

landscaping projects.

mental impact. Not even 3 years old, MantraMeds is work-

With sustainability at its core, Fisher Recycling also has a dedication to the community through local entrepreneurship and philanthropy. The company offers franchise opportunities in the Southeast with two franchises – Hil-

ing with hospitals and businesses that have a commitment to sustainability and green practices. “We love the local story,” Miller said.

ton Head/Savannah and the Grand Strand – celebrating

Earthspun Apparel

more than two years in business.

Greenville |

SustainTex / MantraMeds

soda bottle or beer bottle after it’s tossed in the recycling

Greenville |

bin? At Earthspun Apparel, those bottles become short-

Ever wonder what happens to that plastic water bottle,

Who knew medical scrubs could change the world? Jack

and long-sleeved T-shirts. But more than using the recy-

Miller and Jerry Wheeler did. With backgrounds in textile

cled goods to create fiber for clothing, the shirts also reflect

and supply chain operations, they saw how the textile

the color of their source material.

industry was changing and yet wanted to remain a part of

Available in Soda Pop Green, Beer Bottle Brown, X-Ray

the story. They combined their expertise to create scrubs

Gray, Water Bottle Blue and Food Tray Black, Earthspun

that are functional, fashionable and, most importantly,

Apparel clothing goes a step further in the recycling pro-

made with the environment in mind.

cess. By not using dye to create the color of the shirts, the

The company philosophy centers around the F.A.S.T Footprint approach – fair, accountable, sustainable and transparent – coupled with a desire to transform the U.S. textile industry.

Miller. “Plus it tells a really neat story,” he said. The company’s signature T-shirt contains the recycled plastic equivalent to more than six 20-ounce bottles. The

By offering scrubs, along with lab coats and surgical caps, MantraMeds’ objective is to use fashion and quality to create

shirts are made in the United States – part of the company’s commitment to do as much business locally as possible. In business less than two years,

a product that is also

Earthspun Apparel is still growing its

price competitive,

market and finding its niche among

Miller said. At lot of

green-minded consumers. Earthspun is

people think that be-

working with the college market on co-

cause something is green, it doesn’t have the per-

branded T-shirts and with the surfing community. Miller said his company is


learning that as a startup it’s

of regular

best to connect first with that

stock and

green market. “Before, we

that’s just not

were taking green apparel

the case, he

to the conventional market


and it’s taken us a year to

MantraMeds uses certified Texas organic cotton and recycled


company is also saving water and energy, said partner Jack

decide let’s focus on the green market. Let’s focus on the people who want green products because in the

polyester. The com-

conventional market it’s all

pany manufactures

about price.”

smart Web

Your recycling guide online


here’s a new place to go online to get information

Visitors to the website can find out about recycling

about recycling in South Carolina. An innova-

events, the latest recycling business news and the eco-

tive website,, has tips for

nomic impact of the industry in South Carolina.

manufacturers, businesses and consumers.

Tips for businesses and manufactur-

The site is the home for RecyclonomicsSC,

ers include conducting a waste audit and

an initiative of the South Carolina Recycling

looking for markets for recyclable items. For

Council. The cluster of recycling businesses

consumers, suggestions include learning

began meeting in 2007, and Recyclonomics-

about your community’s recycling pro-

SC was incorporated in January 2012.

grams, finding out where to take your re-

The new website went live on May 8,

cyclables, and buying products made from

2012, said Chantal Fryer, senior manager of

recycled materials.

Recycling Market Development at the S.C

The website also shows the state’s re-

Department of Commerce. “Its focus is on the economic value of recycling.”

cycling specialty license plate for vehicles,

It’s a part of carrying out the mission of Re-

and it helps businesses find ways to team up to recycle their waste products.

cyclonomicsSC: to grow South Carolina’s recycling econ-

Another online source for information about the re-

omy by promoting policy, building networks, developing

cycling business is through the S.C. Department of Com-

markets and increasing recovery of recyclable materials.

merce’s website,

Call Ecopreneur Elizabeth Garrison Rasor for a complimentary recycling consultation for your business.

Ever-Green Recycling is a woman-owned business specializing in commercial recycling services for offices, restaurants, hotels, manufacturing facilities, apartment complexes, and more. Ever-Green recycles paper, plastic, cardboard, bottles, cans, glass and electronics. We also offer educational training for companies on how and what to recycle.

Reducing Upstate Waste Since 2007.

(864) 230-9800 |


smart Collaboration

Turning waste into treasure By Mary Jane Benston


outh Carolina companies are teaming up to keep

to a plant in Florence County, where the carbon fiber is

waste out of landfills, often while helping their own

reclaimed and reused in other products.

bottom lines.

In BMW’s collaboration with the ball manufacturer, the

Manufacturers that are looking for “green” ways to

automaker collects waste plastics from its assembly pro-

dispose of waste sometimes find that other manufacturers

cess and turns them over to Stee-Rike 3, which carefully

are quite willing to take those materials and use them to

blends them with fresh materials to produce hard plastic

make new products.

training balls for baseball players.

In one such partnership, the Upstate’s BMW plant, wide-

“We have quite a bit of plastics coming out of this plant

ly known for its green ways, supplies plastics to a Colum-

on a monthly basis,” says Wes Westbrooks, BMW waste

bia company that makes whiffle balls.

specialist. There is a demand for certain types of plastics,

In another collaboration, Boeing and other manufacturers who use carbon fiber composites are sending scrap

he says, but some types are “very hard for us to get rid of on-site.”

“Think about a Boeing 787. The material is used in that plane for, say, 30 years. Instead of it going to a landfill, we can reclaim the fibers, and then we can put them, let’s say, into a Corvette car for 20 years, and then let’s say when the car’s ready to see its end of life we could put it into a Trek bike, so you get multiple uses of a very good, advanced material called carbon fiber.” Jim Stike president and CEO, Materials Innovation Technologies








Fully Integrated Industrial Disposal and Recycling Solutions. We manage and coordinate Recycling, Reclaiming, Disposal and Transportation of ALL hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams for your business.

The BMW plant recycles 95% of waste generated. When Stee-Rike 3 in Columbia needed plastics for its practice balls, the automaker gladly provided them.

The BMW plant recycles 95% of the waste generated, so


when David Jones of Stee-Rike 3 contacted BMW about his need for more plastics for his product, the automaker was “happy to oblige,� Westbrooks says. “BMW has been wonderful,� says Jones, “and we’re able to take a waste product that did fit our strict terms of quality in the plastic and make a very usable product out of it.� Stee-Rike 3 products “teach kids how to hit baseballs,� he says. They are used by college and pro teams and are sold by national stores. The arrangement with Stee-Rike 3 is a testament to BMW’s environmental consciousness, in Jones’ view. “Everybody thinks recycling’s an easy thing. It’s not,� he says. “To keep it clean and usable takes an effort. It’s easier to throw it in the landfill.� BMW workers handle the plastic well “because they’re professionals in everything they handle,� Jones says. “And we’re able to buy it at a price cheaper than the virgin prices, quite frankly.� The carbon fiber recycler, MIT-RCF, opened in Lake City in 2010. Jim Stike, president and CEO of parent company Materials Innovation Technologies, says manufacturers collect their scrap in reusable containers for shipment to the plant. Two of the main sources are Boeing, which sends material from Seattle operations as well as from its Charleston facility, and Trek Bicycles, which is in Wisconsin. Stike calls the solution “three shades of green.� The first shade is waste elimination, to the tune of 1.5 million


smart Collaboration

Trek bicycle frames are recycled at the Lake City facility of MIT-RCF. (Photo/Materials Innovation Technologies)

pounds. “Before we started our company in South Carolina,

goods back into production. On its website, the state

people were just throwing this in dumpsters and throwing

Department of Health and Environmental Control helps

it in the landfills.”

match companies that want to get rid of a material with

The second shade of green is really where the environ-

companies that need that material.

mental benefit occurs, Stike says. “It takes

For BMW’s Westbrooks, the collabora-

96% less energy to reclaim carbon fiber than it does to manufacture virgin carbon fiber, so if we can put a million pounds of carbon fiber back into the supply chain, that is a million pounds of carbon fiber that you do not have to produce from raw materials.” The third shade of green is sustainability. “Think about a Boeing 787,” Stike says. “The material is used in that plane for, say, 30 years. Instead of it going to a landfill, we can reclaim the fibers, and then we can put them, let’s say, into a Corvette car for

tions that help him find homes for waste

“Before we started our company in South Carolina, people were just throwing this in dumpsters and throwing it in the landfills.” Jim Stike president and CEO, Materials Innovation Technologies

20 years, and then let’s say when the car’s

and byproducts can result from referrals or the occasional sales rep who’s just driving by the plant and stops in. Many of the arrangements develop from connections within the recycling industry, however. “Because the recycling and waste field is such a small field, everyone kind of knows everyone else, so your name is usually given out,” he says. Westbrooks is a member of the state’s Recycling Market Development Advisory Council, whose members share ideas on a regular basis. “It’s a nice network we’ve created. We

ready to see its end of life we could put it

have connections ranging from South

into a Trek bike, so you get multiple uses of a very good,

Carolina going all the way to California.” For BMW it’s a

advanced material called carbon fiber.”

win-win, enabling the green-conscious manufacturer “to

Recycling trade groups and state government agencies try to encourage and facilitate efforts to put reclaimed


find homes and outlets for a lot of our hard-to-recycle products.”



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You need it, we have it


n online “matchmaking service” is aimed at reducing waste by helping businesses exchange reusable materials.

The South Carolina Materials Exchange is available on

the website of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Businesses, nonprofits and governments are invited to list “materials available” and “materials wanted” on the site, Items from A to Z (abrasive bristle to Zep truck and trailer wash) are listed as “available,” while the items on the “wanted” side range from A to nearly Z (acoustical ceilings to white paint). The listings include electronics, glass, metal, paper, pe-

Our recycling program is simple, convenient and affordable.


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troleum, plastic, rubber, textiles and wood. Don’t see what you want? There are links to similar exchanges in Georgia and North Carolina. The S.C. exchange shows a “date listed” for each item. While some materials were recently added, many appar-

803.331.6626 |

ently have been listed for several years. In some cases items stay on the list because the firms have ongoing needs. Staffers regularly contact the companies to ensure that their listings are current, says Mark Plowden, DHEC’s communications director. Anyone wanting to add a material may click on the “submit a listing button” and follow the directions. Listings are usually posted no later than the next day, Plowden said. Assistance is available at 800-768-7348. Information on the actual number of exchanges that users have accomplished is not available. However, the S.C. Department of Commerce communicates

CUTTING COSTS? Let’s start with your

– TRASH. –

to recyclers about the materials available through its electronic newsletter, “Recycling Newsbits.” The exchange can help users find valuable materials for free or less than the cost of new materials. Other benefits that are

CWS is a waste reduction and recycling resource firm. Our objective is to reduce waste cost through recycling efforts. With 15 years’ experience in the waste and recycling industry, we can design a waste and recycling plan specifically for the needs of your company. Stop paying trash companies to haul items to the landfill that other companies can reuse or recycle. Call us today!

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natural resources.


Asphalt milling and recycling

Cold in-place reclamation

Ashmore Bros. Inc.


ost people don’t realize how much re-

cycling goes on in the asphalt industry.

recycle roofing shingles into asphalt, a practice that is now commonplace thanks to the efforts of Ashmore


Upstate highway contractors Ashmore Bros.

Inc. introduced asphalt recycling procedures to South

Carolina years ago, and the company continues to


The company also works with Clemson University

to grind up old tires, turning them into premium-

grow its efforts by recycling asphalt, concrete, tires,

grade asphalt. Ashmore Bros. brought that process to

and roofing shingles.

the state in 1992.

“Asphalt is 100 percent recyclable,” said David Ash-

The company’s recycling efforts not only benefit

more, executive vice president. “It’s America’s most

the environment, they also create a valuable product.

recycled product.”

“We’re looking for something that enhances the prod-

Ashmore Bros. was an early adopter of a technique that allows for in-place asphalt recycling, introducing

uct and doesn’t just get rid of it,” David Ashmore said. Ashmore Bros. crushes concrete from the demo-

the concept to South Carolina in 1991. Through this

lition of curbs, gutters and sidewalks, turning that

process, a reclaimer grinds up the road, reshapes it

concrete back into usable materials for new jobs.

and then a byproduct of asphalt cement is added to the base.

The company, which does private commercial and industrial work as well as state projects, also recycles

The grinding and reshaping is all done right on the

asphalt for driveways and parking lots. Any dirt

road, explains Mark Ashmore, company president.

filtered out of the recycled asphalt goes back into the

Rather than taking the old road pieces and hauling

roadways to build up highway new shoulders.

them off to a landfill, they take the existing materials and reuse them. The company also was the first in the state to

“We don’t throw any materials away,” David Ashmore said. “There’s no waste. A generation ago, it would have been dumped in a landfill.”

PO Box 529 Greer, SC 29652 864-879-7311


Special Advertising Section

Community leaders and residents kick-off the Coca-Cola Recycle & Win program with the giant bottle toss.

A local resident places the Coca-Cola Recycle & Win sticker on her recycling bin.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated


fter you finish a bottle or can of a refreshing Coca-Cola product, we want you to “Give It Back!” All of us at Coca-Cola are looking

win gift certificates for groceries when they recycle. The program is fun and easy. Residents receive a brochure in the mail with an opt-in sticker explain-

for new and creative ways to ensure that all of our

ing the rules. To participate, they put the sticker

packages get recycled.

on their recycling bin, place recyclables inside and

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC)

place the bin by the curb on recycling day. The

believes recycling is a rewarding experience, so in

Recycle & Win Prize Patrol randomly visits neigh-

partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, we cre-

borhoods and rewards people for recycling the right

ated the “Coca-Cola Recycle & Win” program to en-


courage our neighbors to experience it themselves. We partnered with cities and counties throughout

We continue to expand the program to new cities and towns across the Southeast. The Recycle & Win

our territory, including South Carolina, to promote

Prize Patrol could be visiting your neighborhood

awareness of good recycling practices. We teamed

soon – be on the lookout! In the meantime, practice

up with great retail partners like Harris Teeter,

recycling in your town. It’s good for the planet, and

Kroger and BI-LO, so residents in these areas can

that’s a winning strategy – no matter where you live.

Website: Facebook: Twitter:

Special Advertising Section


Nucor Darlington Mini Mill

Nucor Steel

1/2 H N ADVERTISER NAME ucor Steel - Darlington is a premier producer

120 pounds of limestone

of angles, channels, flats, rounds, rebar and

and 1,705 kilowatt hours of electricity.

hexagons. We are located in Darlington,

Take the 22 million tons of steel Nucor made in

South Carolina. Since beginning operations in 1969

2007. That’s enough electricity saved to power over

as Nucor Corporation’s first bar mill, Nucor - Darling-

6.5 million homes for a year.

ton has grown to become the largest bar producer in

While conservation of natural resources is by itself

the Southeast. We have a state-of-the-art 160-ton DC

an environmental benefit, it pales in comparison to

electric furnace supplying two highly efficient rolling

the benefits brought about by the reduction of criteria

mills. We produce special bar quality, merchant bar

pollutants released into the atmosphere. (Think about

quality, and reinforcing bar products.

all that coal we no longer need to burn.) Compared to

As the name implies, Nucor mini mills are small.

the blast furnace, the mini mill’s arc furnace releases

But their small footprint on the land is just one ben-

86 fewer pounds of pollutants into the air for every

efit to their very environmentally friendly nature.

ton of steel made. In a year’s time, that has the effect

For starters, a mini mill’s electric arc furnace requires much less in the way of natural resources. In fact, compared to the traditional blast furnace

of reducing particulate matter emissions by over 2 million tons. It all starts with recycling. By cleaning up our land

process, every ton of steel made the mini mill way

of scrap steel, we’re able to reduce mining waste by

eliminates the need for:

97 percent, air pollution by 86 percent and water pol-

2,500 pounds of iron ore 1,400 pounds of coal

lution by 76 percent. It’s a win-win situation.


Special Advertising Section

Special Advertising Section



Recycling Center is a direct-from-thepublic and commercial collector of aluminum cans, scrap metals, insu-

lated wire and lead acid batteries in Columbia. Their values have always been honesty and integrity and their goal is to be good stewards to the environment and their community. In


2008, they were awarded the “Best Small Recycling Business” honor from the S. C. Department of Commerce and RMDAC. Since 2001, A Recycling Center has more

than doubled the size of their business, staff and facilities. In 2011, ARC paid out over $1

million dollars into the local economy proving


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1/2 H ADVERTISER NAME SC Tire Processing Facility


ot Tires? SC Tire Processing helps you get rid of your bulk waste and scrap tires in an environmentally friendly way. Our tire processing facility is designed for your convenience, security

and safety. We accept all types of tires to feed the renewable energy plant. It harnesses the energy to create clean power -- destroying the tires. Our team is ready to provide reliable, regular bulk tire pick-up at a competitive price. Our facility also accepts bulk drop-off of all types


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of tires whether you have one or more loads. We are always hungry for

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Special Advertising Section


he challenge of meeting the needs of tomorrow’s marketplace is effectively addressed by building sustainability into your strategy,

business practices, operations and products. Understanding the complex issues that sustainability raises takes expert knowledge and experience across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) is a consulting firm dedicated to building solutions for our clients and their communities. We create value for our clients by understanding and bringing innovative solutions to

Contact a member of our southeastern team:

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effective and efficient implementation plans for their sustainable strategies.



asteZero® is the nation’s leading provider of proven and practical municipal waste reduction programs. WasteZero Trash Meter-

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money, increase recycling, and reduce waste 44% annually on average. Approximately 800 communities have diverted more than 3 million tons of waste and saved

WasteZero makes all of their plastic bags in South Carolina from recycled material. Above, blue plastic film in the manufacturing process.

$200 million in waste disposal costs with WasteZero. We tailor best-in-class and turnkey solutions to meet

any community’s needs—from program design to resident education and communication. And because we manufacture 100% of our supplies in our state-of-the-art facility in South Carolina, we know we deliver only the highest quality custom trash bags available. For more than 20 years, WasteZero has been work-

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Special Advertising Section

waste. Learn how we can do the same for you at or 800.866.3954.


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e specialize in polyester recycling and staple fiber manufacturing. Proudly made in the United States, our fibers are


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VLS Recovery Services


or VLS Recovery Services LLC, offering high quality, value-added services while employing exceptional ethical, safety, and envi-

ronmental standards is business as usual. That’s


because VLS is committed to being the most reliable, efficient, and cost-effective waste management and railcar cleaning service provider. With

facilities in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee,

VLS is committed to being the most reliable, efficient, and cost-effective waste management and railcar cleaning service provider.

and Texas.

VLS uses its extensive residual management

and recycling program to help generators find a more efficient use of every ounce of their plant residuals. VLS offers a multitude of recycling and reuse options as well as used oil and waste-to-

energy programs, wastewater treatment, solidification for landfills, handling of universal and electronic wastes, site work services, and in-plant


management services.

Special Advertising Section

CONNECTING BUSINESS in South Carolina SC Biz News is the premier publisher of business news in the state of South Carolina. We publish the Charleston Regional Business Journal, Columbia Regional Business Report, GSA Business and SCBIZ magazine.

Connect your business to our statewide audience. For information about statewide advertising, call Steve Fields at 843.849.3110.

cover Story

New goal: Zero waste to landfill By Ross Norton

Recycling is smart for many reasons, both economic and environmental. Corporations are taking on the challenge as their social responsibility. And now, some of the largest manufacturing companies in South Carolina are no longer sending any waste to the landfill. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right: zero waste. On the following pages, find out how they did it.

At Sonoco Recycling, newspapers are gathered for recycling. (Photo/Jeff Blake)


cover Story


cover Story

Workers sort through recyclables at Sonoco Recycling in Columbia. (Photo/Jeff Blake)

The arrival of BMW Manufacturing in South Carolina’s

It was a massive project that took buy-in from the top

Upstate in the early 1990s brought mostly jubilation, but

down with strategies ranging from puppet shows and

there were some who worried about the environmental

pizza parties to a “waste sort,” where each assembly team

impact of a large auto assembly plant. Today, more waste

dug through its own garbage to see what should have been

goes into the landfill from residences than from the vast

recycled. And in their opinion, virtually all of it should.

BMW plant.

In 2009, BMW measured its waste at 8.97 kilograms per

By the time the assembly line fired up in 1994, BMW had

vehicle produced. In August of this year, when the last

strict environmental policies in place and recycling efforts

landfill shipment took place, the ratio was down to 1.92

were part of the plant’s culture from the beginning. But in

kilograms per vehicle produced. That’s 4.2 pounds of land-

2011 those goals got lofty.

fill waste for each BMW that rolls off the line — about the

Lisa Pirwitz, section manager, led a plantwide effort to

weight of a half-gallon of milk. Since then, the assembly,

reduce waste destined for the landfill. As she researched

paint and body sections of the facility are operating at zero

what other manufacturers were doing, she ramped up the

waste to landfill.

goal to attain zero waste to landfill. For a plant with 4 mil-

“I think it was very exciting to see that it can be

lion square feet of space and 7,000 employees, it was a tall

achieved and it was fun to do,” Pirwitz said. “It was actually


a wonderful feeling.”


cover Story

March 7, 2013 Baxter Hood Center at York Technical College 452 S. Anderson Road, Rock Hill, SC 7:30 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Enjoy morning and afternoon sessions on innovative and sustainable techniques, local field trip, exhibitors, breakfast and lunch! For information on attending, exhibiting or sponsoring visit:

Top: Recycled newspapers are checked over by Sonoco employees. Bottom: Cars that do not meet BMW’s quality specifications are crushed and sent to a scrap metal facility for recycling. (Photo/BMW)

“Zero waste to landfill” is a goal catching on among industry leaders. It’s an ideal featured proudly on company websites and literature. Fruit of the Loom’s Palmetto Distribution Center in Summerville recently attained its landfill-free goal. Distribution Center Manager Jay Medlin said the impetus to keep waste out of precious landfill space comes from the top at Fruit of the Loom. “Corporate social responsibility — we’ve always done that,” Medlin said, so at his plant it wasn’t the corporate hierarchy that had to be sold. It was the employees. “We had to get them involved to take pride in it. Once they got involved, it was pretty easy,” he said. In 2010, the distribution center sent 67,000 pounds of waste to a landfill and recycled 1.16 million pounds. A year later, only 28,620 pounds went to landfill. By August of this

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“The LowCountry’s Leader in Metal Recycling”


cover Story

A Sonoco Recycling employee watches over plastic jugs. The company collects materials worldwide. (Photo/Jeff Blake)


cover Story

BMW’s Green Team searches through employees’ own garbage to find items that could have been recycled. (Photo/BMW Manufacturing Co.)

year, nothing else was going to landfill, and more than 1 million pounds of waste had been recycled. For Fruit of the Loom, the effort to get buy-in from

The company now diverts 99 percent of all waste away from landfills and toward reuse and recycling, according to the Milliken website. Again, the company relies on its

employees at work spilled over into the community. The

employees to get involved in the effort and find solutions

distribution center also provided materials for employees

to waste problems.

to take home to encourage recycling there, too. Fruit of the Loom was recognized by Sonoco Recycling

A relative newcomer to the state’s manufacturing base, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation of Gaffney staked

of Hartsville as a gold-tier Sonoco Sustainability Star for

a claim at being the nation’s first chassis manufacturer

going landfill free. A subsidiary of packaging giant Sonoco,

and first company within the trucking industry to achieve

Sonoco Recycling is a big player in the recycling movement

zero waste to landfill status.

worldwide. The parent company works toward zero waste

The company was sending 250,000 pounds of waste per

to landfill in its own facilities and developed the Sonoco

month to the landfill when they set a zero-waste goal in

Sustainability Star program to encourage the same from its

2007. By October of 2009, the goal was reached.

customers. Worldwide, Sonoco Recycling annually collects more

Freightliner “was able to achieve these results by the continued efforts and diligence of all employees within

than 3 million tons of corrugated containers, paper, metals

the company, and we continue to seek ways to reduce

and plastics, according to spokesman Robin Montgomery.

our environmental impact in our facility and through our

Milliken, one of the state’s most venerable companies,

products and alternative fuel efforts,” said Roger Nielsen,

was out front early in the zero waste movement, even be-

COO at Daimler Trucks North America, parent company of

fore terms like “zero waste to landfill” were being bandied

Freightliner Custom Chassis.

about. A manufacturer of textiles and related products, the

Zero waste to landfill, while relatively new, is on the

company adopted an environmental policy in 1990 that

horizon for many companies as part of their sustainability

established a goal of zero waste.



Joe Renwick, co-owner of Midlands Biofuels, takes a sample from a water purification system at the facility in Winnsboro. The biodiesel is washed with water. (Photo/Jeff Blake)

smart Thinking

‘Good to be part of the solution’ By Ross Norton


o a fry cook, it’s one of the final tasks of a long shift — disposing of a vat full of overused cooking oil,

waste. Midlands Biofuels is one of a growing number of

often with remnants of batter and food. The smelly

companies finding ways to make good use of challenging

oil can’t go down the sink or in the trash because it’s lousy

recyclables. Finding ways to reuse an aluminum can was

company for septic systems and landfills.

relatively easy. But other products were difficult: old mat-

But the bane of a fry cook’s day is gold for Midlands Biofuels and its customers. Since 2008, the Winnsboro company has converted spent cooking oil into biodiesel fuel. Their product so far has replaced more than 2.5 million gallons of petroleum diesel with a product once considered


tresses, oil filters and dead fluorescent lights, for example, weren’t easily spun into another product. For Midlands Biofuels co-owner and founder Joe Renwick, the magic came in the challenge. “It feels good to be part of the solution,” he said. “That’s

smart Thinking

A living roof tops a building in Charlotte. At right, sections of green roofing add to energy efficiency of a home. (Photos/Green Roof Outfitters)

what we are all about — solving fuel problems and waste

try,” he said. “We have partnered with nurseries across the


country so if our customers want them grown out, they

The first step in the fuel-making process — collecting the oil — alleviates a problem for restaurant operators. It also created another avenue to service the restaurant

can get them grown out there, so it’s greener and much more cost effective.” One old idea — recycling oyster shells — is now a much

industry. Midlands Biofuels provides cleaning and mainte-

better organized effort, and instead of using the shells as

nance of waste oil receptacles at restaurants. The company

building material, they’re going back to the environment.

has created 15 jobs for the state and has built a second plant. Midlands Biofuels sells directly to the public from its

Restaurants such as Pearlz Oyster Bar in West Ashley collect the shells until they’re retrieved and secured by Fisher Recycling of North Charleston. The state Depart-

downtown Winnsboro location or provides fuel by the

ment of Natural Resources eventually returns the shells to

truckload to large users.

a marine environment for habitat restoration.

Another company putting a dent in the need for petroleum is Green Roof Outfitters of Charleston. The company uses recycled plastic to manufacture con-

“We think it’s very important,” said Emmy Teague Scott, marketing director for Pearlz Oyster Bar’s parent company. “We’ve been doing some kind of recycling as long as we

tainers for green roofs — modules that hold soil and living

have been in business. It’s important to us to give back to

plants on the rooftop, with benefits ranging from reduced

the communities that nurture us.”

water runoff to energy savings and pollution reduction for the building’s owner. Owner Michael Whitfield designed his whole company

Oyster recycling is a challenge because of the odor and weight, but Fisher Recycling owner Chris Fisher says reusing the shells can reduce a restaurant’s waste stream by

around green concepts, from practices in the shop to his

25 percent. The cooperation of restaurants, recyclers and

philosophy of doing business. Unlike other green roof sup-

state and federal agencies are making it work.

pliers who require customers to buy the complete system,

Others tackling tough recycling challenges include

he will sell the lightweight components to far-away cus-

Diversified Recycling of Rock Hill. The company, with a

tomers who can buy the growing media closer to home.

second location in West Columbia, takes on some of the

The modules that hold the plant life are made in the Upstate from recycled plastic once bound for a landfill. “It’s not as green to ship heavy plants across the coun-

messiest challenges in recycling such as used oil, antifreeze, solvents and fluorescent bulbs. Diversified recycles about 3,600 tons of material annually, according to a report


smart Thinking

An old idea comes full circle A hundred years ago, South Carolinians knew what was required to maintain oyster beds along the coast. In the 1930s, 16 canneries produced thousands of gallons of shucked oysters that were sent, often by ice-cooled railway cars, to New York and other metropolitan areas. The shells left behind were planted back on the stateleased oyster beds in the summer to sustain the fishery. Shell is crucial to the oyster’s life cycle as cultch, a place for oyster larvae to attach and begin forming their own shells. After a few months, an oyster may grow to be as large as your pinky fingernail; in two to three years, the oyster will be around 3 inches long and ready to harvest. The state’s last oyster cannery closed in 1986, due to labor shortages and competition from canned oysters imported from the Far East. South Carolina’s market changed to an inthe-shell product largely consumed at backyard oyster roasts. Instead of being stockpiled at the canneries, the oyster shells were widely dispersed and found their way into landfills, road beds and craft projects. Recognizing that without planted shells, South Carolina would soon have no oysters, the Department of Natural Resources started its own oyster seed planting program in the 1980s. To address a chronic shortage of shells, DNR initiated a recycling program in 2000. Since then 192,618 bushels of shell have been intercepted and recycled, and 408,898 bushels have been planted on shellfish grounds. (Some of the shell comes from sources other than the recycling program.) As recycling awareness grows, DNR has been able to reduce its dependence on out-of-state vendors and long-range transport. Recycling now provides more than half of the planting needs. The Oyster Shell Recycling and Planting Program has set up 27 oyster shell recycling drop-offs in coastal counties, and DNR picks up shells from caterers on a regular basis.

by the S.C. Department of Commerce. Company founder Don Burnette Sr. saw a growing problem in used oil filters and developed a crusher that ex-

they are designed to spring back, mattresses are particularly greedy consumers of landfill space. Bogan opened Nine Lives Mattress Recycling in Pampli-

tracts the oil and creates a briquette. Steel companies then

co in 2006 and recycled more than 126 tons of mattresses

extract the metal from the briquette, most of which finds

and box springs in the first year. He calculates that to date,

its way to a new life in rebar, according to Don Burnette Jr.,

his company has saved 50,000 cubic yards of landfill space.

who helps run the company his father started. On another front, previous hotel and furniture store

That first year’s haul of mattresses produced 33 tons of metal, and many tons of recyclable wood, cotton and foam,

experience gave Ralph Bogan insight into the difficulties

reducing the original 126 tons of landfill waste to 21 tons,

associated with disposing of used mattresses. Because

according to Bogan.




Number of bushels of oyster shells reclaimed


and recycled in S.C. since 2000


Number of bushels of oyster shells planted


on S.C. shellfish grounds since 2000


Number of oyster recycling drop-off points in S.C. coastal counties


Number of state and public shellfish grounds where recreational harvesting is allowed


Quality, Reliability, Performance, & Service have been the tenets of Wellman Plastics Recycling (WPR) throughout its 40-Year history and this dedication has allowed the company to grow into one of North America’s leading compounders and suppliers of engineering and thermoplastic resins.

Wellman Engineering Resins offers a diverse selection of Nylon, Polyester and Polypropylene resin products built to fit any material need. Wellman Plastics Recycling, via its EcoLon® Product Line, is the only Resin Compounder on the market to offer a 100% Post-Consumer Recycled product. Not tied to the fluctuating price of oil, yet still meeting all of your nylon product specifications, EcoLon has quickly found a niche in the thermoplastic marketplace as the perfect raw material solution for the customer who desires to make a product that is: • Cost-effective • High quality • Eco-friendly Learn more about all of our innovative product lines at

Your media source for statewide business news.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

The desire to keep waste out of landfills drives a lot of companies and has led to an industry of people motivated to help the rest of us live more waste free. Companies like WasteZero in Murrells Inlet partner with municipalities across the country to create savings and sometimes produce revenue by reducing waste. WasteZero provides waste reduction programs that increase recycling. Programs include customized plastic trash bags that allow users to created a color-coded system of recycling.

For information about advertising in SCBIZ, call Steve Fields at 843.849.3110.


smart Resources

RECYCLING MARKET DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL Members appointed by the governor represent various interests in South Carolinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recycling business. Paper Industry Representative Ronnie Grant, RMDAC Chair Sonoco Recycling Email:

Glass Industry Representative Kira Roff Fisher Recycling â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Grand Strand Email:

SC Department of Commerce Representative Wes Westbrooks BMW Email:

Municipalities Representative Ed Marr, RMDAC Vice-Chair Greater Greenville Sanitation Commission Email:

Solid Waste Industry Representative Norman Chandler Republic, Inc. Email:

Petroleum Industry Representative Eddie Hook Safety-Kleen Corporation Email:

Plastics Industry Representative Phil Ammons Plastics Provider, Inc. Email:

Tire Industry Representative Dan Chuy Michelin North America, Inc. Email:

Higher Education Research Representative Donna London Clemson University Jim Self Center on the Future Email:

Aluminum Industry Representative Larry McCaskill Alcoa Mt. Holly Email:

County Government Representative Vic Carpenter Kershaw County Email:

Recycling Industry Representative Glenn Odom Wellman Plastics Recycling Email:

General Public Representative Kristen Brown MY ECO Email:

Board of Directors Tina Green Huskey, Chair Recycling and Waste Specialist for Mumford Industries Ronnie Grant, First Vice-Chair Senior Account Representative for Sonoco Elizabeth Garrison, Second Vice-Chair President of Ever-Green Recycling Kristen Brown, Treasurer President of MyEco


Nancy Ogburn, Secretary President of Tomato Palms, LLC Steve Zagorski Vice President of US Fibers Donna London Jim Self Center on the Future Gerry Fishbeck Vice President of United Resource Recovery Corporation

Parris Hicks Marketing and Advertising Manager for Leigh Fibers George Fletcher, RecyclonomicsSC Executive Director Former Executive Director of New Carolina

smart Resources

Other resources Asphalt Rubber Technology Service Habitat for Humanity ReStores

S.C. Recycling Council Members Keep America Beautiful

ACI Plastics Adams Scrap Recycling, LLC Alcoa Alfa Enterprises USA Inc. Carolina Interior Demolition Specialties Inc. Carolina Waste Solutions Inc. Cedar Green and Associates Ceres-SC, LLC Davco Steel Inc. Ever-Green Recycling Greater Greenville Sanitation Commission Horry County Solid Waste Authority Clemson University – Jim Self Center on the Future Johnson’s Garbage Service Inc. Mumford Industries Inc. Plastics Provider Inc. Recover Inc. Republic Services

Palmetto Pride S.C. Business Network S.C. Department of Commerce S.C. Department of Commerce Recycling Market Development Program S.C. Department of Commerce Recycling Directory S.C. Department of Health and Environmental ControlOffice of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling S.C. Materials Exchange S.C. Recycling Market Development Advisory Council

Resource Recycling Systems S.C.’s Council on Competitiveness S.C. Department of Commerce Southeastern Plastics Recovery Inc. Southpaw Marketing Group Tomato Palms, LLC Total Product Destruction United Resource Recovery Corporation

S.C. Smart Business Recycling Program Sustainability Index Solid Waste Association of North America – SC Chapter S.C. Energy Office

U.S. Fibers

Viva Recycling of South Carolina, LLC

S.C. Biomass Council

WasteZero S.C. Green Building Directory

Recycling Businesses in S.C. For a list of businesses involved in the state’s recycling efforts, go to and follow directions there.

S.C. Sustainability Institute U.S. Green Building Council – SC Chapter U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


smart Product What happens to all those plastic bottles South Carolinians recycle? At least some of them are turned into REPREVE, a fiber made from recycled materials, including post-consumer plastic bottles. The fiber is then used to make high quality fabrics and other products. Here are some of the cool products made with REPREVE. (Photos/REPREVE)

By using REPREVE, Ford saved over 2 million bottles from the landfill. REPREVE was chosen for the 2012 and 2013 Ford Focus Electric and a number of the 2013 Fusion models.

A fleece jacket from the durable, soft PolartecÂŽ 300 series is made with more than 70% REPREVE content and uses 40 bottles in each garment.

This year, more than 760,000 grads from nearly 500 schools turned the tassel in green gowns made with REPREVE.

Lauren Conradâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s XO(eco) line by Blue Avocado marks the first celebrity portfolio designed with REPREVE and includes nearly 20 food-on-thego, travel and cosmetic storage accessories.


Excellence through innovation


US Fibers


S Fibers diverts everyday waste like water

fiber, so companies are interested in purchasing a

bottles into fiber that can be used for filtra-

recycled product, he said.

tion, home furnishings and the automotive

For example, US Fibers recycles off-color materi-

industry. The company purchases waste, scrap and

als, creating both light and dark fibers. So customers

off-grade materials and then recycles those into us-

in the automotive industry will take the black fiber,

able fiber.

blend it with white and make a felt material to line

The company started as a broker for compos-

trunks, Zagorski explained. That product – which

ite materials, expanded into recycling and now is

started out as a water bottle – is a less expensive op-

growing into a fiber manufacturer. “Our company is

tion for auto makers.

evolving,” said Steve Zagorski, vice president of new business development.

Recycled fiber is also used for landscaping fabric, as mattress and furniture stuffing, and turned into air

Since President Edward Oh founded the busi-


ness in 1994, it has grown significantly and this year

What would help companies like US Fibers grow

announced plans to expand its polyester recycling

even more is a higher rate of recycling among the

operation in Trenton, South Carolina, creating almost

general public. “There’s a lot of competiveness in

50 new jobs.

buying materials,” Zagorski said. “If we can get the re-

The company doubled its capacity in 2010 both in terms of employees and a facility expansion and is doubling again in 2012, Zagorski said.

it helps everybody.” He pointed out that 75% of water bottles end up in

Much of the growth can be attributed to the fact recycled fiber is simply less expensive than virgin

cycling rates up and more materials for the industry,

landfills, but those make a “wonderful raw material for us. They have excellent properties for turning into fiber.”

30 Pine House Rd Trenton. SC 29847 803-275-5023


Recyclonomics SC  

A publication supporting the recycling industry in South Carolina. Brought to you by SC Biz News, S.C. Department of Commerce and New Caroli...

Recyclonomics SC  

A publication supporting the recycling industry in South Carolina. Brought to you by SC Biz News, S.C. Department of Commerce and New Caroli...