Case Study: Anti-Litter and Beautification Marketing in Rural South Carolina

PalmettoPride presented SouthernCarolina Alliance (SCA) with a Litter Task Force Grant on September 29, 2021, to establish litter prevention programs in Allendale and Barnwell Counties, and to assist the existing programs in Bamberg County. The $120,000 grant was awarded over a two-year cycle, and covered part of the salary for SCA to hire a Regional Beautification Marketing Coordinator to assist each county in establishing and implementing the customized programs. 

PalmettoPride established the Litter Task Force Grant to address litter control enforcement. Rural counties such as Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell have a more difficult time securing resources to fund litter prevention programs, and often have a great need for assistance due to the higher volume of unincorporated roads, open landscapes, and smaller populations. The Task Force Grant allowed for SCA to improve their litter control and beautification efforts in marketing rural communities. 

In March 2022, SCA hired Graci Hiers as the Regional Beautification Marketing Coordinator. A resident of SCA’s seven-county region, Hiers’ background prior to coming onboard for the position included media relations, event planning and marketing, and experience working with community leaders to implement programming. SCA hired Hiers with the responsibility of assisting member counties in establishing the county-level Keep South Carolina and Keep America Beautiful affiliate programs, manage day-to-day operations of the litter reduction efforts, and retain and train the board of directors for continued operation of the organization in the targeted counties. 

Over the first few months that Hiers was on board with SCA, she began working with county and municipal governments, school districts, businesses, civic organizations, and media to encourage participating in the programs, while also working in coordination with PalmettoPride, SCDOT, and sheriff’s departments to ensure a successful established programs in the communities. 

Over the course of six to eight months, Hiers played a key role in establishing committees and directors for both Keep Allendale County Beautiful and Keep Barnwell County Beautiful. With the assistance of SCA, PalmettoPride, and Keep America Beautiful, both counties began working towards receiving Keep South Carolina Beautiful (KSCB) and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) affiliations and checking off the required items needed. Some of these items included monthly meetings, conducting a litter index, attending a series of training sessions with PalmettoPride and KAB, hosting litter cleanup events, working with the school districts to incorporate litter prevention and beautification projects into the schools, hosting summer community events, planning recycling projects and programs, attending KSCB’s annual conference in Myrtle Beach, SC, attending KAB’s national conference in Washington D.C, and more. 

On February 16, 2023, Keep Allendale County Beautiful received their official affiliation with KSCB and KAB. Keep Barnwell County Beautiful was not far behind, receiving their official affiliation on April 11, 2023. 

Since beginning their beautification and litter prevention journeys in 2021 up until the time they received their affiliation in 2023, both Allendale and Barnwell counties took on many projects as they collaborated with local business and industry, middle, elementary and high schools, libraries, summer programs, elected officials, and, of course, volunteers. 

Both Allendale and Barnwell counties hosted the “Litter Trashes Everyone” show presented by the Columbia Marionette Theatre and sponsored by PalmettoPride in 2022 and 2023, and already have plans to bring the show back to their counties in 2024. 

In recognition of America Recycles Day in 2022, Keep Allendale County Beautiful kicked off their “Plastic Bags to Park Benches” project; a plastic film recycling challenge in partnership with NexTrex. As a variety of large industries and organizations including Archroma, Scotsman Ice Systems, Atkore, Queen Wood Products, Collum’s Lumber Products, Allendale Clemson Extension, USC Salkehatchie, SouthernCarolina Alliance, and the Southern Palmetto Regional Chamber joined in on the recycling movement, KACB decided to make the initiative a year-long project and plan to announce their total weight of plastic film recycled on America Recycles Day this year (November 15, 2023). KACB also hosted a field trip for students at USC Salkehatchie to visit the Appleton Recycling Center in Allendale County where they enjoyed touring the facility and seeing live demonstrations of how products are recycled. 

During the summers of 2022 and 2023, both Allendale and Barnwell counties hosted “Litter-Free Story Time” events at their local libraries, where children of all ages enjoyed the readings of litter and recycling themed books and participated in other educational activities. 

In September 2023, students at Guinyard-Butler Middle School in Barnwell County were the first in the state of South Carolina to submit their “Eco-Art Exhibits”, a PalmettoPride initiative where students use pieces of litter collected from their schoolgrounds to create sculptures. 

Both Allendale and Barnwell Counties, as well as the other five counties of Bamberg, Hampton, Jasper, Beaufort, and Colleton that make up the SouthernCarolina region, continue to work tirelessly each day to make their communities the best they can be by keeping them clean, green, and beautiful. We feel that this would not have been possible without the support and funding of PalmettoPride granting SouthernCarolina Alliance with the Task Force Grant in 2021.

For more information on this case study, contact SouthernCarolina Alliance marketing associate Graci Hiers or info@palmettopride.org.

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