Meet Kira Roff – Living Life in Shades of Green
By Leslie Moore
Pawleys Island resident, Kira Roff, is passionate about trash – or, rather, recycling and what happens to the trash after it gets thrown out. The Wisconsin native, and former Vice-President of Operations and Events at Brookgreen Gardens, started Brookgreen Garden’s recycling program. Once accomplished, her dedication to improving and maintaining our environment eventually led Kira and her husband Steve to open Fisher Recycling Grand Strand in 2010, providing commercial and residential recycling services in Horry and Georgetown Counties.
Why did you choose a recycling business?
When I worked for Brookgreen Gardens, visitors would ask where to recycle their plastic bottles and, at that time, there was no recycling program. I knew I wanted to help start a program in Brookgreen, but it seemed overwhelming. I contacted the S.C. Department of Commerce and DHEC, and found a lot of great information that helped us implement the program.
My husband has his own fishing charter business, and I was interested in helping our community and area businesses recycle, more for altruistic reasons in the beginning. I found out there was no commercial recycling available for businesses to commingle their glass, plastic, tin and paper, or to do educational training for staff. I finally decided to go for it – it was a leap of faith that has worked out well. We have the passion to match the hard work that goes along with owning and operating a recycling business. And, I have never worked harder in my life.
Everything that goes into the garbage is buried, while recycled materials are used again and again. Glass, for example, only takes about 30 days to be back in use, and can be endlessly recycled. Paper can be recycled over and over before more virgin paper has to be added. Making products from recycled steel, glass, plastic or paper saves 40-70% in energy, and what many people don’t realize is that recycling creates jobs. There are over 300 recycling businesses in South Carolina, and the industry has produced 37,000 direct and indirect jobs.
What can we do at home?
Just start small, every little bit helps. Everyone makes a difference. There are drop-offs for recycling in Horry and Georgetown Counties, or, if you don’t have time, we offer residential pick-up. Get a reusable coffee cup or water bottle, buy reusable bags for shopping, unplug your phone chargers when not in use and turn off lights – it really adds up. Our environment is ultimately resilient, can “bounce back” given the chance, and recycling is an incredible opportunity to help it do so.
Why did you move here from Wisconsin?
My family came here for vacation for years, starting when I was about seven years old, and we would camp at Huntington Beach State Park. In 1998, a friend of mine and I were here camping and had signed up for a park program the next day, but a middle of the night rainstorm and wet tent caused us to be late. After the program was over, I had a few questions for the guide, and he teased me about being late. I went to another program the next day, and if you haven’t guessed, the guide was my future husband! At that time, he worked as an Interpretive Park Ranger at Huntington. Eight months later we were married, and I moved to South Carolina. That was 13 years ago. Today, we have two children; our son, Wyatt, is 10 and daughter, Bryn, is 11. Both were born in Georgetown County.
Steve and I are both passionate about the environment and have always tried to reduce our own carbon footprint. When we were first married, Steve worked – and we lived – in Huntington, so when I went to work for Brookgreen, I would ride my bike there and back every day. After we had children I did have to get a car, but for a long time, we were a “one-car household.” Now I drive a clean-running diesel that gets 50 mpg and try to carpool and plan my trips to save energy.
What do you do for fun?
Sleep! [laughing] We also do a lot of volunteer work at our church, Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church, and with the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Recycling Industry, as well as Murrells Inlet 2020 and Surfrider Foundation. Everything we do is family-oriented. We have a lab/boxer mix dog that I try to run every day. In the summer, we love boating. I would love to travel the world more if I could…maybe someday I will travel again.
Being able to be around for my children is one of the many benefits of having my own business. I love my work and believe it is important, not just for my children but our community and environment as a whole. One of my favorite quotes is “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That’s what I’m trying to do.
For more information about recycling and how to get started, visit www.fisherrecycling.com/grand_strand or call Kira at (843) 543-9811.
About this writer
- Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.