Groovy Green Glass helping Mother Earth

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control named a Myrtle Beach company one of its Earth Day Award winners.

DHEC says Groovy Green Glass, a business that gives bottles a second chance, is one of four 2012 environmental stewards.

Groovy Green Glass reclaims wine and liquor bottles from area restaurants and turns them into usable products like glasses, bowls, candlesticks and jewelry. Any glass the company can't use is recycled. According to DHEC, the company saved more than 16,000 bottles from landfill disposal last year.

The other award winners include 1000 Rain Gardens for York County, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden's ComPOOst Program (Columbia), and Boeing South Carolina (Charleston).

"Each year, we honor exemplary environmental stewards from across the state at our Earth Day Awards event," DHEC Director Catherine Templeton said. "By showcasing the winners' innovative efforts to protect our state's natural resources, we hope to inspire other South Carolinians to embrace the Earth Day concept and work to make a difference in their communities."

The rain gardens project, begun by the York County Water Education Team last April, is an initiative to create 1,000 rain gardens to reduce stormwater runoff. The rain gardens act as natural filters and prevent pollutants from entering lakes and streams. The initiative has certified ten rain gardens in York County, held two rain garden workshops and installed four rain garden displays at nurseries throughout the county.

Riverbanks Zoo's ComPOOst program takes the 1,500 pounds of waste created each day by the elephants, giraffes and zebras to create high-quality compost. The material is used in landscaping and exhibits around the zoo. It is also available for public sale. The zoo saves approximately $13,000 a year by eliminating disposal costs. The revenue earned from the sale of the material goes to the Riverbanks Conservation Support Fund, which pays for wildlife conservation efforts around the world.

Boeing South Carolina's 2011 environmental milestones include achieving zero waste-to-landfill status, eliminating Styrofoam in its cafeterias and reducing air emissions. The company has a comprehensive approach to waste reduction and recycling. Boeing South Carolina recycles many items including cardboard, plastic and wood. The facility also reuses pallets and safety glasses. Food scraps are composted. Material that cannot be recycled is used as boiler fuel for energy recovery. The company recycled 917 tons of material last year.

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