County park visitors help turn trash to gold

  • Friday, November 1, 2013

The numbers are in – in Summer 2013, waterpark visitors helped divert over 16,300 pounds of waste from area landfills.

Through compost bins set up on site in place of trash cans at Charleston area waterparks, park patrons made a huge difference in their local environment this summer by diverting over 16 thousand pounds of leftover food and serving ware from the landfills. Instead, this waste will be composted and part of it returned to enrich your parks.

Composting efforts were introduced in 2012 at Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission’s (CCPRC) largest waterpark, Whirlin’ Waters in North Charleston. In Summer 2013, these efforts expanded to CCPRC’s Splash Island Waterpark in Mount Pleasant and Splash Zone Waterpark on James Island.

Before opening for the season, nearly all of waterpark serving ware - including straws, cups, forks and plates – were replaced with compostable materials. Then, waterpark visitors placed nearly all of their waste into specifically-marked bins. These items were collected and taken to a composting site by local partner Food Waste Disposal where the waste will eventually break down.

Composting is important because it reduces the amount of waste going into the landfill. Not only does it lengthen the landfill’s “lifespan,” it helps the environment by reclaiming trash and breaking it down into a nutrient-rich additive for soil. A portion of this wonderful “black gold” product will now be used to naturally fertilize the park’s entrance, waterpark and other landscapes throughout the day park.

Waterparks are not the only CCPRC facilities where discarded items are collected - event planners also recently introduced this stewardship practice to the park system’s festivals. At the Lowcountry Cajun Festival on James Island, nearly 95 percent of the event’s waste has been diverted from landfills each year since 2012. Composting and recycling are just one of many ways in which CCPRC strives to institute environmental stewardship programs throughout the park system.

By converting trash into an organic material, visitors to Charleston County Parks are able to easily make a difference in their park system. Future park patrons will one day rest in the shade of trees that the previous generation nurtured through composting. Learn more about CCPRC’s stewardship initiatives at www.ccprc.com/stewardship.

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