CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Bees Ferry landfill in West Ashley brought in about 70,000 tons of yard waste alone last year. Charleston County officials say they’ve contracted with a company to process that waste and save tax dollars.
“All the yard waste people put on the side of their yard, the county has been processing that for years. We’ve been averaging a cost of about $30 a ton. With this partnership with McGill, we will bring that down to about $24 a ton,” said Councilman Brantley Moody, chairman of the Solid Waste committee.
The new contract with McGill Environmental means the company’s seventh facility will be established at the Bees Ferry landfill. Moody said the county interviewed several companies and settled on McGill. The company has facilities in Ireland and the Carolinas.
They don’t have to build much, said McGill President Noel Lyons. They’ll provide machinery and management to turn yard waste into compost and mulch.
“If you look immediately in front of me, behind you right now, there’s an open landfill,” Lyons pointed out. “Our big picture objective is to get to where there’s a lot less going up there, and a lot more going here [to the yard waste area]. Here, we take and turn it into products that for the most part go back to citizens to serve the county in terms of improving soil health and soil performance and reducing the need for fertilizer.”
He said their products are commonly used for golf courses and sports fields and even go back to home gardens. The new contract includes a revenue share that specifies McGill will give back 30% of the mulch and compost revenue back to Charleston County.
The contract is for ten years. Moody said a contract that length was "a pretty standard contract negotiated with the attorney and the client."
"Charleston County is a county that seems to really care about recycling," said Lyons. "One of the areas we see that prior to Covid there was tremendous progress being made in terms of food waste recycling."
Though food waste has dramatically decreased with schools and restaurants closed, he hopes that's just temporary.
“Don’t put your trash, don’t put your TV on top of those piles at your house,” Moody said. “We need good clean inventory to put out a good product.”
They encourage citizens to keep up the yard work because your piles could really pay off.