Surprises at recycling meeting: Privatization, technology, pickup changes, land sale

Image by Flickr user Scott Ableman

Update July 14: The Post and Courier has done a nice follow on the story and does a good job adding a touch of background to what happened. Though the four technologies/companies being persued remain ellusive. 

Read their story here.

First reporting: Tonight's Charleston County Council meeting had more surprises in store for the recycling program than were expected.

Read more stories on this subject in our recycling topic page.Among those surprises were the announcements that the old incinerator property would be sold, a privatization of recycling services, as well as pursuing "emerging technology companies" to offer innovative solutions.

Also approved were more expected things like automation of the collection process including new trucks that lift recyclable containers directly into trucks.

We'll follow up in the morning with more details.

But The Post and Courier has already sniffed out a few details in a brief you can read over here.

But if you'd rather do a bit of hunting yourself the full announcement is below.

County Council Takes Action to Improve Recycling Program

During a regular Charleston County Council meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13, Council took actions in an effort to improve the County’s recycling program. 

The action was taken after a 5:30 p.m. Special Finance Committee Meeting where Charleston County’s Environmental Management Department staff and the County’s solid waste consultant, Mitch Kessler with Kessler Consulting Inc., gave a presentation to Council members. The presentation provided information on the department’s most recent accomplishments, current activities and key components of a Green Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) system that the County plans to implement with Tuesday’s nod of approval from Council.

Council voted to:

  • Enter into a contract with American Recycling of South Carolina, LLC to provide recycling materials processing, marketing, and sales for the County as provided in the Service Agreement negotiated by the County Attorney.
  • Authorize staff to expand the recycling programs and proceed with demonstration projects as presented in the Green Plan presentation (given to Council during the 5:30 p.m. Special Finance Committee Meeting on Tuesday, July 13).
  • Enter into a contract for sale with Shipyard Creek Associates, LLC for the sale of the incinerator site property.
  • Direct the County Attorney to bring information regarding four short-listed emerging technology companies back to Council’s September 2 Finance Committee meeting.

“Council has tasked our staff and consultant with creating the premier solid waste management program in the southeast, and today we have shown we are well on our way,” said Teddie E. Pryor, Charleston County Council Chairman.

Charleston County Council approved the County’s moving forward with initiatives described in Tuesday’s Green Plan presentation, such as:

  • Implementing a Green ISWM system that features a combination of new processing technologies, automated collection vehicles, new containers and carts, demonstration projects, and infrastructure improvements that are based on the current user fee system.
  • Planning a new compost pad to expand the type of materials composted at the Bees Ferry Landfill.
  • Improving the landfill site to include a new entrance, traffic flow and a modular administration building.
  • Purchasing new vehicles with advanced automated collection technology, such as an automated side-loader, which is a truck that can pick up recycling bins without the need for the driver to get out of the truck.
  • Purchasing recycling carts and containers better suited to implement the County’s goals.
  • Expanding recycling services to the business community and improving services in the school system, for single family households, multi-family households (apartments and condominiums) and in government facilities.
  • Conducting demonstration projects for recycling as follows: single-stream, commercial, food waste, backyard composting and reuse/swap shops.
  • Planning efforts for a proposed site and state-of-the-art Material Resource Processing Facility (MRF).

Tuesday’s presentation updated Council on efforts so far that have:

  • Improved the County’s recycling rate to 20%, up from 10% in 2009, which is closer to the 40% goal that Council added to its Solid Waste Management Plan in March of 2009. The tonnage increased from 13,000 tons from January-June 2009 to 32,000 tons during the same period in 2010.
  • More than doubled the County’s compost tonnage by composting yard waste that previously went into the Bees Ferry Landfill.
  • Expanded curbside recycling services to approximately 1,000 additional homes.
  • Increased the types of recyclable materials accepted in the County, such as all plastics # 1-7, and cardboard at curbside pickup.
  • Consolidated Construction and Demolition and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) disposal.

In recent months, the Environmental Management Department has achieved significant progress on Council’s Nine Point Strategy by implementing steps to improve and reduce the cost of operations and to secure the necessary services to manage the County waste through in-county and out-of-county haul and disposal contracts in order to minimize potential adverse effects on the Bees Ferry Road corridor and adjoining neighborhoods. 

Staff estimates that efforts for far have resulted in over $2.5 million in savings and avoided costs.

In addition, a one-time $25 solid waste fee credit to all Charleston County residents was approved by Charleston County Council during passage of the Fiscal Year 2011 budget (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011). Residents will see the credit on their 2010 tax bills. 

Residents can call (843) 720-7111 or visit to find out their recycling collection day, the nearest drop site location, and Convenience Center addresses and hours of operation.


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