Hometown Hero: Sea Pines recyclers

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - The RBC Heritage has once again moved out of Hilton Head, and one of the best scores of the week came for how much the tournament did not throw out.

"Really, you want to decrease your impact to mother earth and you want to help the community,'' said Tony Wartko, Director of Facility Services for Sea PinesResortt. "And that's where we're trying to make thing happen.'

Last year, the 49th Heritage was named a GEO Certified Tournament, golf's highest honor for sustainability.

The 50th Heritage went a step further in redirecting, recycling, repurposing everything from plastic bottles to the nylon windscreens on spectator pavilions, reducing the amount of trash generated for the week by almost 30 percent.

"It's a win-win for everybody,'' said Anna DeLage, the Recycling Market Development Manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. "And it's a great example of what you really can do with large event recycling. This is just top-notch work.''

And it is not done just one week out of the year. Recycling during the Heritage is a re-emphasis of Sea Pines' year-round philosophy, that Wartko says is in keeping with Charles Frazier's vision for protecting the environment.

"We did about 609 tons of recycling last year,'' Wartko said. "We did 120 tons of cardboard, we did six tons of oysters, 10 tons of coffee grounds, 70 of food waste, 129 or 130 tons of glass.''

The effort also impacts the cleanliness and profitability of the resort.

There are no dumpsters in the Sea Pines service area. Instead, cardboard and aluminum are compacted and then sold as a revenue source. Food waste is dehydrated and composted. Te bottles that were hand sorted during the tournament are donated to South Carolina's Your Bottles Means Jobs Program to support the state's economy.

"It's not only great for the environment, but we keep a lot of those jobs in South Carolina,'' DeLage said, "because we have a lot of the processing infrastructure here.''

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