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June 7, 2018
In North Carolina and South Carolina, the recycling, processing and manufacturing of recovered plastic bottles creates jobs for 3,500 people. And it generates more than $228 million in capital investments, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce. An additional 300 jobs could be created if each household in the Carolinas recycled two more bottles weekly.
An informal group of recycling industry folks, feedstock users and government agencies have joined together to drive these points home. Under the name the Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council, they created a campaign called “Your Bottle Means Jobs.”
“The campaign focus goes beyond an environmental message of saving landfill, energy and other resources. We built an education platform around plastic bottle recycling with an economic development strategy in mind,” says Chantal Fryer, director of recycling market development at the South Carolina Department of Commerce, who was among the campaign’s developers.
The Your Bottle Means Jobs logo shows images of the two most recycled bottle types in the Carolinas: those made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and from polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
The campaign first launched as a pilot in March 2016. As it’s grown, it’s seemed to make a difference. From March 2017 to May 2017, the two states saw a 2 percent increase in recycling of these bottle types. Material recovery facilities (MRFs) report they are selling all their bales, says Fryer.
“The message that recycling is good for the Earth has been around since the 70s, but when people hear this, I feel like they glaze over. It’s like, ‘I heard that before; we all know it,’” says Tori Carle, waste reduction supervisor for Greensboro, N.C.
Carle began incorporating Your Bottle Means Jobs into her educational programs in the summer and fall of 2016.
Freelance writer, Waste360
Arlene Karidis has 30 years’ cumulative experience reporting on health and environmental topics for B2B and consumer publications of a global, national and/or regional reach, including Waste360, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun and lifestyle and parenting magazines. In between her assignments, Arlene does yoga, Pilates, takes long walks, and works her body in other ways that won’t bang up her somewhat challenged knees; drinks wine; hangs with her family and other good friends and on really slow weekends, entertains herself watching her cat get happy on catnip and play with new toys.
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