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S. C. Business Recycling Assistance Program Awards SMI Steel for Recycling Efforts

SMI Steel, a West Columbia-based mini-mill, was honored this week by the Business Recycling Assistance Program for having South Carolina's Best Industry Recycling Program.

SMI was recognized for its exemplary efforts to divert numerous materials from its waste stream in favor of recycling. Waste reduction and recycling activities have been implemented throughout all areas of the mini-steel mill, including its melt shop, roll mill, customer service/transportation area, and its administrative offices, resulting in the reduction of trash containers from 20 to four.

“SMI has gone beyond the typical office paper and cardboard recycling to incorporate a variety of materials such as pallets, fluorescent bulbs, nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries, computer equipment, oily rags and mats, aerosol cans, and parts washer solvents,” said Karen Owens, manager of the Business Recycling Assistance Program. “Its waste reduction team has been successful in getting management support as well as buy-in from co-workers.”

The Business Recycling Assistance Program is a partnership of the S.C. Department of Commerce’s Recycling Market Development Advisory Council, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling and the Center for Waste Minimization, and the University of South Carolina’s Industrial Ecology Program.

The program provides free technical assistance to businesses, industry, government agencies, colleges, and other organizations interested in saving money on waste disposal and conserving natural resources and landfill space.

The SMI team has used proceeds from its aluminum drink can collections for its employees’ emergency fund. The company also participated in the Great American Clean Up last April, accepting nearly 9 tons of scrap metal from the general public as part of a special Saturday collection. The Great American Clean Up recruits volunteers to assist in community beautification and litter clean up projects as part of a national effort to promote environmental stewardship.

As a recycling business, SMI Steel recycled more than 700,000 tons of scrap metal last year to make new rebar steel products. In addition, the team has implemented significant programs to recover particulate emissions and reduce hazardous waste generated at its facility.

Barnet Polymers was presented with honorable mention for its waste reduction and recycling activities. As a reclaimer of nylon and PET fibers, the Spartanburg County business has made noteworthy efforts to reuse or recycle its extrusion waste. Employees have also tackled packaging waste, such as recycling cardboard tubes and boxes, pallets, bale wrap, and metal scrap; office waste, including copy paper, envelopes, magazines and catalogues; and used oil and acetone.

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority received recognition for its efforts to promote business recycling within its county. Currently, more than 565 businesses are enrolled in its business recycling program, with nearly 7,500 tons of cardboard and 1,000 tons of office paper collected in Fiscal Year 2003. The county also provides marketing assistance, personalized waste audits, and customized training programs for area businesses.

“Kudos to these organizations that make the quality of life of their fellow citizens a priority,” said Commerce Secretary Bob Faith.

(Images provided by S.C. Business Recycling Assistance Program & SMI Steel)

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