South Carolina county moves forward on construction of $24M MRF

Dive Brief:

  • South Carolina's Charleston County is moving forward with the construction of a 57,000-square-foot, $24 million material recovery facility, as reported by The Post and Courier.
  • The county is currently spending $1.4 million annually to truck recyclables to neighboring Horry County because its own recycling facility was shut down after older technology and challenging commodity markets made operating costs unsustainable. The planned facility will include equipment from Machinex and employ 30 people, though with less hand-sorting than its predecessor.
  • Once the Charleston County facility is completed, which is more than a year way, neighboring Berkeley and Dorchester counties could potentially send material there through a regional solid waste partnership. Neither of the two counties currently have curbside recycling collection, though Charleston does.

Dive Insight:

Last fall, some local officials raised questions about environmental concerns at the proposed site but those have since been resolved. The land in question, located next to a Republic Services landfill, has now been purchased for $2 million. 

Other new MRF projects have found success by attracting business from neighboring counties or municipalities — as seen in Iowa recently and considered elsewhere — and the arrangement could be beneficial for Charleston's facility. Though neighboring Berkeley County is waiting for construction of the RePower South facility, which will extract recyclables and create fuel pellets, before entering into any type of agreement. 

Charleston County reportedly diverts about 30% of its waste for recycling per year and is attempting to reach a goal of 40% through its food scrap diversion efforts. A focus on yard waste and commercial organics has led it to become the largest compost producer in the state. These efforts, coupled with a modern MRF, could help the county become a diversion leader in the state and potentially generate higher revenues if more counties come on board.

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Filed Under: Recycling
Top image credit: Wikimedia user Z22