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County Recognizes International Compost Awareness Week May 6-12
4/29/2013 11:15:25 AM

Charleston County Compost Operations at Bees Ferry Landfill

Charleston County Government will recognize International Compost Awareness Week, May 6-12, an initiative by the compost industry throughout the U.S. to promote the environmental benefits of composting. During awareness week and any other time the facility is open, compost is available for purchase at the County’s Bees Ferry Compost Facility for $2 per bag (1.5 cubic feet) or $10 per loose ton.

“We encourage folks to tour the County’s compost facility to learn about composting and how it benefits our community,” said Harvey Gibson, Charleston County’s Composting Superintendent.

Since 2009, Charleston County Government has been recovering 100% of incoming yard waste (to produce compost) rather than landfilling the material.

Since November 2011, the County has banned the disposal of yard waste in plastic bags. The ban has eliminated the presence of plastic contaminants and has enhanced the overall quality of the compost produced at the Bees Ferry Compost Facility.

“Producing compost free of plastic contaminants allows farmers, landscapers and residents the ability to purchase a higher quality product,” says Gibson.

In 2011, the County’s Environmental Management Department received the Carolina Recycling Association’s Outstanding Composting or Organics Recycling Program Award, which recognized the County’s compost facility for its design and implementation of an organics-recycling program (see news release about the award:

The County encourages residents to start composting, and provides tips on how to do so:

Composting at home

Charleston County’s Environmental Management Department provides backyard compost workshops, presentations and tours of the Bees Ferry Compost Facility.
Compost workshops include how to start composting at home, how to maintain a compost pile, worm composting, and how to use finished compost.
Compost presentations for homeowner's associations, garden clubs and other groups are available upon request.

Composting at work

In 2012, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) granted the County a permit to process commercial food waste at the Bees Ferry Compost Facility, which made the County’s 2010 Food Waste Composting Pilot a permanent program.
The County’s program is the first food waste composting project approved by DHEC in the state.
Partnering with private collection parties, the County’s food waste program is geared toward commercial and institutional generators of food waste.
Increasing the intake of food waste tonnage supports the County’s 40% goal and allows the County’s Environmental Management Department to help reduce the costs of operating its compost programs.

Composting at play

Three Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission (CCPRC) water parks are recovering food waste and serving ware which is hauled to Charleston County’s Bees Ferry Compost Facility. A portion of the end-product, which is compost or “black gold” (a nutrient-rich soil additive), will be utilized by CCPRC parks around the County for landscaping and beautification. This effort to divert organic waste at the water parks is the result of Charleston County Government and CCPRC partnering to create a comprehensive recreational recycling program for the County parks.
Additionally, as part of the Greening Schools Program, Charleston County Government and the Charleston County School District initiated a food waste recovery program in 4 elementary schools this past fall, which has since grown to include 11 schools. Over 48 tons of food waste material has been diverted from the landfill since the school year began.

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