The City of Clemson and Clemson University are teaming up in an effort to better serve the local community. Thanks to a collaboration spearheaded by Mayor Robert Halfacre, City Administrator Andy Blondeau and Clemson University Recycling Manager Dave Vandeventer, cardboard from local businesses is now being collected at Kite Hill Recycling Center — representing a distinct change in how the recyclable material has typically been picked up and distributed.
“We’ve been doing this for a little over two months now,” Vandeventer said. “We’re probably gaining about 8,000 pounds per week at our recycling center, so over 60,000 pounds of material in just eight weeks.”
Previously, cardboard from city businesses was taken to a local landfill, where it may not always necessarily have been recycled. Now, Vandeventer said, the City of Clemson brings cardboard to Kite Hill each Friday morning. It’s then sorted properly and sent out to American Recycling of Western North Carolina, a full-service facility located in Buncombe County.
The University collects cardboard from main campus on Thursdays, so Vandeventer’s team is “already in that mold” when it comes time to receive the City’s allotment.
“We’ve worked toward this connection for quite a while,” he said. “I knew of Robert (Halfacre), but hadn’t talked with him much before our team helped provide compost and retention for one of the entrances to the Green Crescent Trail. He asked about our recycling program, and that marked the beginning of some new relationships.”
Vandeventer said the University and City hope to expand the recycling partnership to include paper, plastic and aluminum goods. Recently donated equipment will allow the University to perforate the material, compact it and ship it right back to be used in recycled plastic and aluminum cans.
“As soon as the equipment is up and operating, that’s the next step with the City,” he said. “From a logistical and operational standpoint, it will be easier for the City of Clemson. It’s significant, it’s clean and is valuable to our partners.”
Halfacre — who cited Cody Lingefelt and Mitch Swaney from the Public Works department as instrumental in making the collaboration a reality — hopes for similar efforts between the city and university moving forward.
“This represents just one of the many opportunities for good that comes from working together.”