Ask the management at Ocean Lakes Family Campground what some of their biggest environmental struggles are and they will tell you: garbage, beach litter, cigarette butts, pet pollution, stormwater runoff, and recycling. Many of Ocean Lakes’ guests have the same concern. Our team (and guests) have found a way to take action!
History of the iCare Program
In August 2008, a longtime guest wrote a letter to Lance Thompson, who was the Vice President and General Manager, about the litter she saw on the beach and the impact she knew it had on the sea life. A short time later Horry County Storm Water Management contacted area businesses about efforts to correct storm water issues and explained that pet waste was a problem and needed to be addressed in that several-mile region of Horry County.
Ocean Lakes’ teammates became inspired. They launched the iCare Program (see release) featuring the motto “Awareness & Action Count.” The best way to address these problems is to educate and provide sensible ways to take action.
During 2009 the program grew quickly adding four recycling stations to the campground, something that had been abused a decade ago. The main iCare Recycling Station is located on the main drive across from the Camptown Center. Additional stations are located near the Recreation Center, the 3000 and 4000 campsite sections, the south side on Lovestone Drive at Sand Dollar Lake, on Spring Lane at the South Gate entrance, and in Sandy Harbor Water Park near the restrooms (see map for recycle symbol). In 2010, guests and teammates recycled more than 59,000 pounds of solid waste, and by February 2019 guests have recycled more than 1.6 million pounds!
The iCare Program was introduced in the Ocean Lakes’ newsletters, its magazine, and public relations efforts such as press releases. Coordinators from Horry County Storm Water Management and the Solid Waste Authority were excited about the iCare efforts applauding the speed at which Ocean Lakes implemented such a program.
iCare Program Today – Awareness & Action Count!
Ocean Lakes continues to encourage its guests and teammates to be good stewards of the environment and to do what can be done – even the little things like recycling fishing line, cleaning up after our pets, refraining from feeding waterfowl – all these things add up!
Awareness and Action still count. Guests can learn about iCare and even take part in activities at our Leonard Raker Nature Center Discovery Lab. We are all in this together!
Guests can Recycle Solid Waste – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle then Relax!
Ocean Lakes dedicated a 20-yard garbage truck to the collection of solid waste in its facilities. Our team drives to the MRF Station (Materials Recycling Facility) to empty the truck. We continue to track how many tons we recycle and update our Mega Green Meter. By spring 2022, the Green Meter reflected more than 2.3 million pounds of solid waste our Teammates and guests have recycled.
Recycling one aluminum can will save enough energy to power a TV for three hours. Recycling 14 plastic bottles will yield enough fiberfill for a ski jacket. Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every three months.
Take ACTION: Find one of our 7 iCare Stations for your solid waste recyclables (see Do’s and Do. Please make sure to remove the items from any bag as it will cause mechanical issues at the MRF Station. Or when not at Ocean Lakes, tune in to our helpful videos to learn about how to recycle, what to recycle and why.
Recycle YES: Newspapers • Magazines • Junk Mail • Phone Books • Cereal Boxes • Snack Boxes • Cracker Boxes • Aluminum & Metal Cans • Plastic Jugs & Bottles (no. 1-7) •Aluminum Foil & Trays • Glass Jars & Bottles • Corrugated Cardboard (empty & flatten).
Recycle NO: Plastic Bags (recycle at most grocery stores) • Glass Cookware & Ceramics • Paper Plates (napkins & plastic ware) • Styrofoam (including egg cartons, packaging or cups) • Light Bulbs (recycle your CFLs at any Home Depot) • Alkaline Batteries.
Did you know that pet waste or “Pet Pollution” is the biggest contributor to our stormwater and swash area bacteria levels? During heavy rain, this pet pollution is washed into stormwater drains and causes the bacteria levels to test high near our beach swashes where habitat live and children play.
Take ACTION: You can make a difference! Take care to clean up after your pet. As you walk your dog, Doggie Doo Bag Dispensers are conveniently located in 29 locations throughout the campground.
Guests can Recycle Fishing Line
Ocean Lakes features several lakes, hence the name “Ocean Lakes.” Our guests enjoy sitting and watching waterfowl. Other guests enjoy fishing (catch and release) from the banks. Did you know that monofilament line is harmful to wildlife and a nuisance to boaters? The line can tangle around waterfowl and marine life, as well as boat propellers and other equipment. It also lasts for 500 years.
Take ACTION: Don’t cast your line in the water if you can avoid it. Try to recycle it. We encourage everyone to GATHER their USED line and cast it into the large recycling tubes adjacent to our lakes. More than 250 yards of fishing line is placed in receptacles at our lakes every year. By recycling the monofilament line we are able to keep it out of our landfills. So, where ever you fish, remember to ALWAYS gather your line!
Guests can Recycle Cigarette Butts – Taking Responsibility for our Habits
Cigarette filters are the most common littered item in the U.S. The biggest myth is that cigarette filters are biodegradable. Composed of up to 12,000 plastic-like cellulose acetate fibers, a form of plastic, cigarette butts can persist in the environment for years. They contain toxic nicotine and tar. There is enough nicotine trapped in 200 used cigarette filters to be deadly to a human. Littered butts are carried by wind and stormwater runoff into nearby bodies of water. The cancer-causing agents in the filters leak into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and aquatic life. Cigarette filters have been found in the stomachs of fish and birds who mistake them for food. An estimated 1.69 billion pounds of butts are littered each year worldwide.
Take ACTION: Ocean Lakes’ guests can gather and discard cigarette butts in one of our recycling cans. More than 35 pounds of cigarette filters are shipped by Ocean Lakes to TerraCycle for recycling each year. You can make a difference! If you smoke, just dispose of the cigarette butts in the proper place. Carry a portable or pocket ashtray when smoking outside. If you are out and about, you can improvise! One smoker recommended using a cup, bottle, can or even your cigarette pack’s cellophane wrapper – but be sure to dump the butts before recycling the can or bottle! Don’t throw butts out the car window.
Guests can Recycle Used Cooking Oil
Deep Frying? Never dispose of any type of oil in any body of water. Do not pour it down a stormwater pipe or drain. The oil can and will harm the animals that inhabit that area.
Take ACTION: If you are in Ocean Lakes and need to dispose of cooking oil, take your oil to the Meet N’ Eat located at Camptown Center, request to speak with a Supervisor, and they will properly dispose of the oil for you. There are different types of cooking oil and our Teammates will know which recycling drum in which to dispose of it.
Please Do NOT Feed the Waterfowl!
Why I’ll never fly again…
We know feeding the ducks was popular when many of us were younger, but now we know this is harmful to waterfowl. Processed foods like bread and crackers lack nutrition for development and cause malnutrition. This leads to Angel Wing Disease (permanent bone deformities in the wings of species of waterfowl, like swans, geese, and ducks). You can see this deformity in the photo where the swan’s wings appear to be pointing outward and not folded in (because these are her bones – not feathers). She will never recover and will not be able to fly ever again. We do not want to see this happen to her offspring or any other waterfowl!
Take ACTION: Show uCare, Do NOT feed waterfowl. (Plus, it is illegal!)
In 2019, Horry County passed an ordinance (Ord. No. 69-07, 5-15-07) regarding feeding migratory and domestic waterfowl (geese, swans, ducks, cormorants, etc.) making it illegal to feed any of these animals unless you are on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) property.
Ordinance Purpose: To prevent such conduct that may attract and concentrate migratory and domestic waterfowl to or near residential properties in Horry County. It has been determined that the presence of large numbers of waterfowl causes a public nuisance by contaminating lakes and ponds and causing erosion.
Ordinance Prohibits Feeding: No person shall feed, cause to be fed or provide food for domestic or migratory waterfowl in residential areas of Horry County. No person shall create or foster any condition, or allow any condition to exist or continue, which results in a congregation or congestion of domestic or migratory waterfowl in residential areas of Horry County.
Regular Feeding Can Cause: Poor Nutrition | Spread of Disease | Delayed Migration | Pollution | Overcrowding | Unnatural Behavior
PLEASE NOTE: Animal cruelty, harassment, molestation, torture, or injury will not be tolerated. This extends to all wildlife, including waterfowl, nests, and eggs. Do not catch, take, or sell wildlife. Our fish are “catch and release,” do not kill. SC DNR will be contacted at our discretion based on the circumstances. See other campground policies here.
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“Minute with Mallory”
Paper Bags vs. Plastic Bags
Planting Tips from Jeff