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Recycling: A Day in the Life

Posted by: Jennifer Stevens | April 9, 2013 | No Comment |

The recycling initiative at the College aims to reduce waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill. For the past 10 years, recycling has been implemented on a campus-wide scale. At the head of the Recycling Shop is Carl Crews. Crews works alongside Jerome Smalls. Between the two of them, they have 21 years of service at the College.


A typical day for Crews and Smalls begins at 7:30 a.m. Among their 7 or 8 stops a day, they stop at TD Arena daily, and travel to Patriot’s Point and Grice Marine Lab once a week. Other stops include various buildings around campus. Residence Life and Dining Services are not included on their route.

Crews and Smalls deliver roughly three to five tons of recycling each week to the Sunoco recycling plant located in North Charleston. Essentially, materials are lifted three times – once when being removed from buildings, once when being removed from the truck, and once when being transferred to the recycling plant. Lifting 9 to 15 tons of materials each week is a physically demanding task for the recycling crew. The job becomes especially difficult in summer months with the Charleston heat in full force.


With a campus of 10,000 students, there are areas that get cramped. Maneuvering the truck around people and accessing places that require driving on College Way or Green Way can be challenging. Another challenge is keeping everything clean. Often times, the plastic bags rip and cause liquids to leak on the ground and on hallway floors. Additionally, Crews and Smalls must work around class schedules, trying to keep quiet when emptying recycling containers located just outside of occupied classrooms.

While school is in session, the College produces around 45,000 pounds (or 22.5 tons) of garbage each week. Based on the trash audit conducted by the Alliance for Planet Earth (APE) last spring, only 26 percent of the 1,000 pounds of trash sorted was actual waste. Essentially, the College could divert 74 percent of what is thrown into a landfill.

How can you help?

  1. Pay attention to what you are throwing away. You would be surprised at how many things can actually be recycled.
  2. Place your items in the appropriate bin. Be mindful of the difference between paper, plastic, and aluminum.
  3. Empty your drinks before placing any bottles, cans, or cartons in the bins. This will help Crews and Smalls avoid leaky bags.



For more information about the Recycling Shop, visit http://physicalplant.cofc.edu/shops-and-divisions/recycling.php.

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