South Carolina has about 760,000 students and 50,000 teachers in more than 1,200 schools that generate substantial amounts of waste. The vast majority of this waste could be prevented, recycled or composted.
School districts have a unique obligation to demonstrate environmental accountability by setting up waste reduction, recycling and composting programs. The benefits of these programs are many including conserving resources, supporting the state's recycling efforts and economy as well as teaching a lifelong lesson to students on sustainability and being responsible consumers.
DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling can help schools set up, maintain, improve and expand recycling and composting programs through grant funding, technical assistance, curriculum lessons and other material.
Check the menu on the right for available resources.
Guides for Schools
DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling has developed three guides to help schools set up recycling, composting and food waste reduction programs.
- Recycling: A Guide for South Carolina Schools delivers the steps necessary to set up a successful school recycling program.
- Reducing Food Waste: A Guide for South Carolina Schools provides strategies on how schools can address their largest single source of waste.
- Composting: A Guide for South Carolina Schools focuses on three types of organics recycling programs that schools can consider.
"Action for a Cleaner Tomorrow"
"Action for a Cleaner Tomorrow" ("Action") is an award-winning, interdisciplinary, activity-based curriculum supplement that provides an introduction to solid waste, recycling and composting to kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
"Action" was developed by teachers and DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling in conjunction with the S.C. Department of Education in 1993. The 16th revised edition features 18 lessons correlated to South Carolina's science standards that include state- specific information when possible.
Here is additional information about "Action."
- The curriculum supplement is available to teachers at no cost who attend a two-hour workshop.
- Classroom presentations also are available at no cost for fifth-grade, seventh-grade and high school students.
- For information to schedule a teacher workshop or classroom presentation, visit www.takeactionsc.org or call DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling at 1-800-768-7348 .
Take Action SC Partnership
The Take Action SC Environmental Education Partnership is dedicated to providing a program that informs, inspires and empowers students and teachers to protect and preserve the environment.
Comprised of Coastal Carolina University, PalmettoPride, Keep South Carolina Beautiful and DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling, the partnership program offers lessons and support material, teacher workshops and classroom presentations to promote waste reduction, recycling, composting, litter prevention and sustainability.
To learn more, visit www.takeactionsc.org .
Grant Funding for K-12 Schools
The Recycling Education Grant Program, offered by DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling (Office), is available annually to South Carolina schools.
Click here for the 2017-2018 grant application. (pdf)