New compost operation launches in Charleston County

A new compost operation just launched in Charleston County, turning yard waste into something valuable.

By Caroline Balchunas

Originally posted here

Charleston County has been composting for years, but it’s expanding the operation thanks to a new partnership with McGill Environmental Systems.

“We are in the business of composting,” said McGill company president Noel Lyons. “Throughout the eastern U.S. and Ireland, we run a number of facilities, actually this is lucky number seven we believe, I hope.”

Lyons said the company will transform everyday yard and food waste into sustainable, organic soil. It’ll then be sold to local landscape and garden businesses, as well as individuals who wish to use it at home. The project will provide another revenue source for the county and utilize wasted space.

“It’s a creative use of space. This is a closed landfill that we’re standing on right now that normally would have no other use,” said Brantley Moody, chairman of the county’s Solid Waste Committee. “We’ve gotten permission to do this service right here on this space, so it’s a good use of landfill space.”

McGill took control of the county’s composting last month, starting a 10-year contract. The agreement will bring the county’s processing cost from $30 a ton down to $24 a ton. The county will also make 30-percent of the revenue on the product sold to outside retailers.

“Our impression so far is that Charleston County is a county that cares about recycling and one of the areas we see that is prior to Covid there was tremendous progress being made in terms of food recycling,” Lyons said. “A tremendous number of restaurants and schools had programs that were getting them going or up and going. But for the most part we go back to the citizens that serve the county in terms of improving soil health and soil performance and reducing the use and the need for fertilizers and such.”

The compost soil will be ready for sale at the landfill starting on Monday, August 17.

“Just like recycling, we ask the county and our citizens that you give us good inventory. It’s the same as your recycle bin where you only put things that can be recycled in the recycle bin,” Moody said. “So goes the yard waste, good, clean stuff that only goes there. Don’t throw your trash, don’t throw your TVs on top of those piles, we need good clean inventory to put out a good product.”