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SDOC Receiving DHEC Recycling Grant

posted Oct 28, 2020, 8:21 AM by The School District of Oconee County, SC
Water filling station

The School District of Oconee County was awarded a $25,500 DHEC Recycling Education Grant last month.  The Recycling Education Grant is a competitive program that allocates funds to schools and districts within South Carolina to support school recycling, composting, waste reduction activities, or for costs associated with field trips designed to improve understanding of recycling issues.

The grant will provide two water bottle filling stations for 17 school sites including all elementary, middle and high schools, as well as the Bountyland Education Campus.  The units have a traditional water fountain (currently covered up due to COVID-19) in addition to sensor-activated water bottle filler.  The first units were installed last week at Seneca Middle School.  When asked about the stations, Dr. Darrell McDowell, principal of Seneca Middle, said, "The new filling stations will provide safe and convenient hydration opportunities for the students and adults at SMS.  These will serve our school well long after COVID-19 is a distant memory."

Each unit tracks the number of "water bottles saved" based on a standard size disposable water bottle.  In the first week of operation, the two stations at Seneca Middle School saved 750 bottles, an average of 150 bottles per day.  If all 17 schools average that for each day of the school year, SDOC students and staff will save more than 450,000 plastic bottles in a normal school year.

Units have also been installed at Keowee Elementary, Walhalla Middle, West-Oak Middle, West-Oak High, Orchard Park Elementary, and Westminster Elementary.  The remaining stations will be installed as they are delivered in the coming weeks.

SDOC has received this grant in the past.  Projects have provided recycling containers for all classrooms, as well as the needed equipment to establish "Share Tables" in each school.  Share tables allow students to place specific food and beverage items that they choose not to consume on a designated table or cart.  This provides an opportunity for other students to take the items at no cost.  This strategy, encouraged by the USDA, helps feed hungry children and prevent food waste.