Q. Is there a group or organization around Conway or Horry County that takes old and used cell phones and uses them or reuses them for a worthwhile purpose? If so, where can I take my phones? I’ve got several of them.

A. We’ve really put an effort into finding a local group that wants your phones, but so far we’ve been unsuccessful. However, we did find an alternative that you might like.

Big Sky Recycling isn’t local, but it does refurbish phones and put them, or the profits it gets from selling them, to good use. All profits are donated to three types of nonprofit causes: one is military, another is environmental and the third is humanitarian, according to a company spokesperson.

If you have five or more phones, the group will cover the cost of shipping and provide a shipping label for you. If you have fewer than five phones, the group will ask you to pay for shipping.

You can go online to the group’s website and find a link to print your shipping label. The group promises to get back to you within an hour, sending you all the instructions to schedule a pickup or find a post office.

You don’t even have to leave your home if you’re donating five or more phones.

Check info@bigskyrecyclng.com or call (971) 373-6217.

You might also want to check out info@cellphonesforsoldiers.com. Here again, there is no local drop-off place. Your phones will have to be mailed.

Anyone who knows of a local group that collects used cellphones for a charitable cause can call Kathy Ropp at (843) 488-7241.

Q. What are the rules regarding how close to a stream trees can be harvested?

A. Holly Welch, manager of the S.C. Forestry Commission’s environmental program, answered your question.

"The most accurate answer to the question is, it depends. Specific recommendations for streamside buffers vary based on the type of stream, the slope of the surrounding area, the soils, and any additional considerations, (i.e. scenic river designation). However, in most cases South Carolina Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Forestry recommend a 40-foot forested buffer along each side of a perennial waterway, one that carries water most of the year.

“Streamside buffers, while important, are only one factor in adequately protecting South Carolina’s waterways. BMPs for Forestry are a suite of recommendations that have provided guidelines for all aspects of forestry operations for more than 40 years in South Carolina and are an integral part of sustainable forestry. They are designed primarily to protect water quality, minimize soil erosion and protect streamside areas but they also enhance wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and scenic beauty. Specific recommendations for streamside buffers, road construction, stream crossings and harvesting systems are included as are practices for chemical and mechanical site preparation, reforestation, prescribed burning, and fertilizer application in addition, recommendations for wildlife and scenic quality are also mentioned.

“The S.C. Forestry Commission employs three BMP Foresters that work with landowners, foresters and contractors across the state to answer questions, offer assistance and address any BMP issues that arise. BMP Foresters provide support through all stages of a harvest, ideally beginning with pre-harvest planning and then monitoring the active harvest through completion with a courtesy exam.

“South Carolina should be proud of its nationally recognized BMF program for forestry. The success of this program is the result of strong support and cooperation between the regulatory agencies, the forest industry, forest landowners, and the forest contractors who put BMPs into practice every day. BMPs in South Carolina are highly effective and widely implemented.

“More detailed information on Best Management Practices for Forestry is available on the S.C. Forestry Commission website at https://www.state.sc.us/forest/menvir.htm. Foresters, contractors and landowners may request free assistance from BMP Foresters to ensure water quality protection during harvesting and forestry operations by contacting their local BMP Forester.”

Thom Roth, manager of Horry County’s Stormwater Department, said loggers don’t need permits from the county as long as they don’t “turn dirt”, which usually means not pulling stumps. If they pull stumps out of the ground, that’s land disturbance and then the county becomes involved.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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