Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Dr. Andrew Spicer

Second Reader

Dr. Kealy Carter


The state of South Carolina generated 4,809,041 tons of municipal solid waste during the fiscal year of 2019 (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019). During this same period, the state maintained an average municipal solid waste recycling rate of 28.2% (Toomey, 2019b). This thesis gives an in-depth look in to the economic and environmental effects of recycling, specifically plastic, in South Carolina. I have researched and analyzed the process, capabilities, and impact of recycling plastic in South Carolina. This includes all seven types of plastic as classified by their chemical makeup. In addition, I surveyed South Carolina residents to capture their behaviors, motivations, and knowledge of recycling plastic in the state. Survey results showed that individuals are strongly motivated to recycle but would rarely go out of their way to do so. I also found that many individuals do not recycle properly and are not knowledgeable of South Carolina’s recycling capabilities. I have used these results to consider how recycling could be improved in South Carolina. I have researched how South Carolina benefits from recycling, both economically and environmentally. I have also acknowledged the limitations of recycling. I hope that readers will learn the value of recycling and the importance of doing so.

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