AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – November 15th is America Recycles Day, and people in Aiken County are getting serious about their trash.

New residential collection centers in Aiken, such as the one on Connector Road, use single stream compactors, so people don’t have to worry about sorting their recyclables.

“Most communities do single stream,” said Alex Miller, the environmental health manager for DHEC. “It’s more efficient, more cost effective, but it can create more contamination.”

DHEC and Aiken County officials held a “Recycle Right” event today in Aiken to educate community members on how to reduce contamination when recycling.

Contamination can happen when items that aren’t accepted are put into a bin, or when foods or liquids are left on containers. 

“Some contamination is okay, but it’s when you get a whole bunch of contamination, it can decrease the value of the recyclables which can lead to it going in the landfill,” Miller said. “Manufacturers want a clean product.”

According to DHEC, more and more South Carolinians are recycling every year.

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that from July 2020 to June 2021, the state recycled 1.2 million tons of material from homes and commercial buildings.

“I definitely think it’s a culture shift. More and more people are wanting to reduce, reuse, recycle, and so I think that’s helping to boost our recycling rate within the state,” Miller said.

Click here to find recycling centers near you.