As a byproduct of my greenification, I’ve become a bit of a recycling fanatic. I bet some of you are as well. So I thought it might be interesting to hear from a professional recycling fanatic, Elizabeth Fisher from Fisher Recycling.

Chris and Elizabeth Fisher have been at the helm of Fisher Recycling since it opened in 1992. They are a huge asset to our local green community, and took home the 2006 Charleston Sustainability Award. Elizabeth has been quite gracious with me over the last few months as I learn the ropes – many thanks for that and taking the time for 9 Questions. So without further delay, here’s the interview.

GGC: First off, what is Fisher Recycling?
Elizabeth: A recycling collection service for businesses and curbside residential collection on Daniel Island.

GGC: How do you work with Charleston County Recycling?
Elizabeth: Most of our commingled (glass, plastic, aluminum, tin, etc.) is donated to Charleston County Recycling. We also refer business to each other.

GGC: Why is it so difficult to recycle plastics #3, #4, #5, and #6?
Elizabeth: The city does not accept them because there is not an end market that will purchase them in our area.

GGC: What are the most common items you collect that ARE NOT actually recyclable?
Elizabeth: We don’t collect anything that is not recyclable (on purpose!) The biggest office contaminant is paper ream wrappers. The biggest restaurant contaminant is unrinsed food containers.

GGC: How does not following the rules (removing bottle lids, rinsing out, removing plastic windows from envelopes, etc.) increase the difficulty and cost of your operation?
Elizabeth: Constant awareness and education will continue to make programs successful. The more people are educated about procedure, the more the products will be recycled. (plastic windows are O.K.)

GGC: What is the future of recycling?
Elizabeth: Fortunately, here in Charleston, the future is very bright. We have begun to implement and embrace recycling philosophies from other areas of the country. And, admittedly, most of thepeople that relocate here come from areas that require recycling and are more environmentally aware. The more we “close the loop”, i.e. buy recyclable products or recycled products, the more these products will be available for purchase.

GGC: What are you doing in your personal life to reduce your impact?
Elizabeth: We built an Earth Craft House, have all Energy Star appliances, used all local vendors for building materials. We bring our own bags to grocery, drive a Prius, and try to do all our business locally (minimizing online shipping costs and transportation costs). Supporting our local economy.

GGC: What do you think about the current state of the green movement in Charleston?
(see above on future….)

GGC: Is there anything you’d like to promote while you have a captive green audience?
Elizabeth: We also craft recycled countertops and flooring from Charleston glass that is collected from area restaurants. The glass cullet (gravel) can also be used for landscape covering or driveway supplement.

To learn more about Fisher Recycling, you can visit their website at

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