Fourth graders have been “Talkin’ Trash” for eighteen years in Horry County. This countywide contest encourages fourth grade students to recycle at school and divert waste from being thrown away in our landfill.
Every month, the top three winning schools will receive a plaque, a school supplies for their school, a recycled content prize for each 4th grader, and a visit from the Talkin’ Trash crew! The students will also get a chance to appear on television.
The top three schools that demonstrate the most recycling during the course of the Talkin’ Trash contest will be deemed the Grand Prize winners and the fourth graders from those schools will go on a fun-filled educational field trip. Lunch and transportation will be provided.

How the Contest Works:
Talkin’ Trash (TT) is a school recycling and waste diversion competition that encourages elementary schools to engage in waste reduction, recycling, composting, and waste management practices.  Originally created by the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, the Talkin’ Trash program has been introducing students to recycling and environmental awareness since 2000.  The program has fostered a mutually beneficial partnership between the Horry County Solid Waste Authority and Horry County Schools (HCS). 

Your school will have an opportunity to examine its entire waste portfolio which includes landfill trash, commingled recyclables, classroom paper recycling, and compostable material.  The students will also be tasked with completing Challenges over the course of the competition to improve the waste management practices at your school and to earn points in the competition. 

Get ready to start Talkin’ Trash! 



Every classroom in Horry County public schools has the opportunity and should be recycling paper through the Horry County Solid Waste Authority’s (SWA) Classroom Paper Recycling Program. Each school is provided with classroom recycling bins and designated roll carts for free from the SWA. Each classroom should have one recycling bin for paper and another recycling bin for all other recyclables (commingle). Commingle containers are provided by HCS Facilities.

Challenge: Have students create a poster for classrooms to utilize to encourage Paper and Commingle Recycling.

Talkin’ Trash October Winners: Kingston Elementary, Daisy Elementary, and Conway Elementary
Talkin’ Trash: Kingston Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Daisy Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Conway Elementary School – Watch Video

CLICK HERE to watch the winners do the TALKIN’ TRASH TIKTOK DANCE!

America Recycles Day is held November 15th each year and is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.

Challenge: Host an event to celebrate America Recycles Day.

Some examples of ARD School Campaign Ideas:
• Encourage students and teachers to recycle more by providing an interactive opportunity to learn what can and can not be recycled in your school (a relay race game). • Host a school wide “I Recycle!” pledge campaign. Students, teachers, and administrators pledge to recycle for the rest of the school year.
• Invite guest speakers from various environmental agencies out for an Environmental Career Day.

Talkin’ Trash November Winners: Daisy Elementary, Burgess Elementary, and Palmetto Bays Elementary
Talkin’ Trash: Daisy Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Burgess Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Palmetto Bays Elementary School –  Watch Video

Communicating important information in a fun way is a great strategy to spread awareness about a topic and poster campaigns have proven to be a great way to have students get involved.

Challenge: Sponsor a poster campaign at your school that promotes sustainability, health and wellness, recycling, composting, environmental stewardship, energy, clean air, litter or any other topic that students connect to sustainability at your school. This can be made into a contest for added fun and share winners on social media!

Talkin’ Trash December Winners: Conway Elementary, Riverside Elementary, and Burgess Elementary
Talkin’ Trash: Conway Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Riverside Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Burgess Elementary School –  Watch Video

A waste audit is an assessment of what your school or home is throwing away. Conducting a visual waste audit is a great way to evaluate the waste that is disposed of and how much of that waste could have been recycled, composted or donated.

Challenge: Conduct a visual waste audit at home or at school and answer the following questions:

  1. What kinds of waste are in the garbage?
  2. Are there recyclable or compostable materials in the trash?
  3. What could we have done to reduce the amount of garbage?

Talkin’ Trash January Winners: Conway Elementary, Kingston Elementary, and St. James Elementary
Talkin’ Trash: Conway Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Kingston Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash:St. James Elementary School –  Watch Video

The 3 R’s are: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! It is important to try to reuse items even before we recycle them.

Challenge: Rethink ways to turn trash into treasure! Collect items that would normally be discarded and turn these pieces of trash into something artistic, innovative, and new!
Ideas for projects include using old books, bottle caps, plastic bottles, tissue boxes, pens/markers, plastic bags, milk cartons, etc. Check out Pinterest, Etsy, Google and other fun websites for inspiration.

Talkin’ Trash February Winners: Kingston Elementary, Conway Elementary, and Palmetto Bays Elementary
Talkin’ Trash: Kingston Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Conway Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Palmetto Bays Elementary School – 

The video challenge invites the school, students, teachers, staff, administration, and parents to reflect on not only the basics of recycling, but on sustainability, resource conservation, and environmental stewardship. This activity will empower students and facilitators to demonstrate how their school is conserving resources, reducing pollution, and increasing the life of Horry County’s landfill by encouraging increased recycling participation. The contest will also serve as a learning tool for participating students by providing lessons in ecology, art, drama, technology, marketing and team work.

Challenge: Create and submit a video encouraging recycling and the efforts being taken to reduce waste. Show and tell us what you did this year during the Talkin’ Trash program and why you are the greenest school/home in Horry County!
Ideas for project include using photos from previous challenges. We really want to see videos and photos of your students completing challenges throughout the competition, but please be mindful of any media-denied students that may be participating.

Talkin’ Trash March Winners: Kingston Elementary, Conway Elementary, and Palmetto Bays Elementary
Talkin’ Trash: Kingston Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Conway Elementary School – Watch Video
Talkin’ Trash: Palmetto Bays Elementary School –  Watch Video


Have you ever been to a landfill to see where your trash goes? The SWA offers virtual field trips to tour the landfill, recycling facility, and composting area where all HCS food waste goes. Virtual tours/presentations and in-person tour applications can be found at http://www.solidwasteauthority.org/education.html#tours. We also offer in school presentations or live zoom presentations to interact with your students either at school or home.

Challenge: Take a virtual or in-person field trip/presentation.

Litter is a major issue and we should all make efforts to reduce the litter in our communities and clean up where we can. Students can help educate others and parents on the importance of keeping our community litter free.

Challenge: Hold a litter cleanup! This cleanup can be on school grounds, at home, or you can go off-site to an area in need.

Our local Keep America Beautiful chapter, Keep Horry County Beautiful (KHCB), can assist you with all of the equipment and resources that you need for your cleanup including trash grabbers, bags, vests, signage, and safety information.

Does your school make efforts to recycle during special events? Is there anything that you could do to promote recycling and waste diversion when you have special events?

Challenge: Choose at least one event during the school year and plan to offer event recycling to attendees. You can obtain temporary event recycling containers from the SWA for this if needed. You may also choose to utilize the containers and equipment currently on-site and make containers available to attendees during the event. Make sure that you have signs available to tell everyone what should go in the containers.

This is a great opportunity to introduce recycling and composting to parents and guardians! The students have likely told them about what is going



The Horry County Solid Waste Authority Is Reminding Kids To Recycle When Going Back To School.

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