Recycling center breaks ground
It is only a matter of time until Berkeley County residents will receive recycling services at no additional cost. County leaders joined RePower South (RPS) executives last week to officially break ground on the new Berkeley County Recycling and Recovery Facility, located at 646 Oakley Rd. in Moncks Corner.
“Soon, the trucks that are dumping waste up on this landfill will be coming to a facility that we’re going to build here,” said Brian Gilhuly, chief operating officer for RPS. “At this facility, we’re going to recycle and divert waste from the landfill, immediately making Berkeley County the number one recycler in South Carolina and actually, probably within the country.”
The sustainable option was first presented by RPS in 2016, when the county’s contract with the previous provider expired, according to a press release from the county. When efforts to renegotiate the contract resulted in a higher price tag for residents, county leaders began to consider a different path for the county’s recycling services, ultimately resulting in a public-private partnership with RPS.
“It was something we needed to do because we have a growing population here with a number of people coming in every day,” said Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler at the groundbreaking ceremony. “…They produce a lot of stuff and that stuff generally ends up in a hill. With your efforts combined with this public-private partnership, I think we are going to be the example of what is to come. This is a far reaching, forward-thinking project…Maybe we can show the world this is what we need to do for recycling.”
The terms of the agreement state that Berkeley County will pay RPS to process the county’s waste, the press release reads. After the recyclable material is extracted, RPS will then pay the county to landfill the remainder. Additionally, RPS will pay the county a lease to operate on its landfill, as well as a share of earnings from the sale of the recyclable material and fuel.
“This is a deal that you just can’t beat,” said Peagler. “When you don’t have to put tax dollars up to get a project of this magnitude and you work out the opportunity we have here, it’s a win-win proposition for everybody.”
Not only is it a “win-win” for the county and RePower South, but also the residents, stated the press release. Because of this new agreement, once production starts beginning in early 2019, Berkeley County residents will no longer have to pay additional costs to recycle. Additionally, sorting will no longer be required.
“The Moncks Corner plant will process 50 tons-per-hour of mixed waste sourced from Berkeley County to recover recycled goods and a fuel feedstock,” the press release reads.
Perhaps most important, added Gilhuly, is the positive impact that sustainable options, like this new recycling center, have on the environment.
“The equipment that we will install will extract recycle commodities and allow that material to go back into manufacturing processes—boxes, containers, things like that—which save the Earth’s resources,” he said. “In addition, we will extract other material and make fuel out of it that replaces coal that’s consumed here in the local region. That will leave coal’s carbon in the Earth’s crust.”
What is especially notable about this partnership, is the fact that it was entered into voluntarily rather than out of necessity, explained Tim Callanan, deputy supervisor of administration and CFO for Berkeley County.
“I think there is a key point here,” said Callanan, who resides on Daniel Island and is a former Berkeley County Councilman. “Most of the time that entities enter into these recycle programs it’s because they have to because they have no landfill space. Berkeley County doesn’t have that problem. We have 100 years of landfill space. We’re doing this because it is the right thing to do, not because it’s something that we have to do.”
Once completed, the recycling center is expected to create 60 new jobs in Berkeley County. For more information on RePower South, visit http://www.repowersouth.com/.