Recycling is really catching on in Richland County - at home, work and school.
Next week's event, organized by the county to celebrate America Recycles Day, is expected to attract 10,000 people.
Richland County's third annual recycling day will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, at Clemson's Sandhill Research and Education Center in Northeast Richland.
The free event allows county residents to recycle hard-to-dispose-of items - from household chemicals and tires to lightbulbs and batteries with poisonous mercury inside.
The day is part festival, part health fair and part community classroom.
"The more things that we can save from going into the landfill reduces what we pay at the landfill," said Paul Alcantar, the county's recycling director.
"It also makes the environment better, because we're preventing a lot of items from going into the landfill that could potentially be harmful."
Alcantar mentions saving county taxpayers money - it costs $3.5 million a year to bury trash in the landfill as it is - being one motivation to recycle.
Elementary-school teacher Lynn Rogers is motivated by teaching children how to improve their world.
Rogers considers recycling an ethical issue.
"They are so excited about it, and they're so conscientious," said Rogers, who organized a recycling program for fourth- and fifth-graders at Polo Road Elementary. "They're going to save this planet."
And the Richland 2 school district is doing its part as well. So far this year, the district has collected 2,500 lightbulbs for recycling at a cost of 16 cents per bulb, according to spokeswoman Theresa Riley. The district also pays a $50 per-school fee for the recycling program.
Gretchen Lambert also recycles because it's the right thing to do.
"It's just that plain and simple," said Lambert, an architect who helped set up a recycling station for office paper in the Vista that has expanded to glass and plastic.
Whatever reason, Alcantar said residents have increased the amount they recycle at home by 17 percent in the 2 1/2 years since he came to work for Richland County.
The county has tried to make it easier to recycle by setting up three unstaffed stations where folks can drop off junk mail, cereal boxes and glass - items that aren't accepted in the county's curbside program.
And then there's what Alcantar calls "a huge extravaganza of fun and excitement for the family" coming up soon.
The county's America Recycles Day event offers a bunch of environmental-related vendors as well as pony rides for children, live music and an Elvis impersonator, plus free food between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Informational booths will demonstrate how mattresses and plastic are recycled. Groups promoting health and animal welfare will be represented, too.
Recycling options added this year, based on requests from the public, are:
- Eye glasses and hearing aids by the Lions Club;
- Donations of clothing and household items accepted by a local thrift store;
- Scrap metal, including lawnmowers (remove gas and oil), refrigerators, washers and dryers.
Only 250 households with hazardous waste can be processed. Call (803) 576-2446 to reserve an appointment.
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 (recycling cuts off at 3 p.m.)
Where: Clemson's Sandhill Research and Education Center, 900 Clemson Road
More details: (803) 576-2446
Cell phones and cell phone batteries
Computers and monitors
Printers and copiers
TVs up to 32 inches
Small, portable stereos
Washers and dryers
Automobile tires (limit four per household)
Mattresses and box springs
Eye glasses and hearing aids
Household hazardous waste
Richland County recently set up three stations where residents can recycle glass, junk mail, plastic household containers, steel and aluminum cans, cardboard, cereal boxes, newspaper and magazines.
- The county's public works department, 400 Powell Road, off Pisgah Church Road
- Clemson's Sandhill Research and Education Center, 900 Clemson Road
- Sunoco Recycling, 1132 Idlewilde Blvd., off Bluff Road
County officials will be setting up two new stations in the coming months - one in Blythewood, the other in Eastover.