Local restaurants encouraged to join compost movement

  • Sunday, July 13, 2014

Charleston County's Environmental Management Department (CCEM) continues to expand commercial food-waste composting by partnering with local food generators. Restaurants and other local food generators can reduce disposal costs and their impact on the environment by composting food waste. Residents and farmers can close the recycling loop by purchasing premium Charleston County compost.

A waste composition study conducted by Charleston County showed that more than 37 percent of the county's commercial waste is organic, compostable material – such as food, non-recyclable paper and yard waste – which can be diverted from the landfill through a commercial waste composting program. Increased participation in the county's food-waste composting program supports Charleston County's 40-percent recycling goal set forth by Charleston County Council.

Participating restaurants and other generators keep food prep and plate waste separate from the garbage in their kitchen. This food waste, in addition to soiled paper, like napkins and paper towels, can be composted. Partnered food-waste haulers collect the food waste for a fee and deliver the material to Charleston County's Bees Ferry Compost Facility where it will be processed into compost available for sale within the community.

Since the program began as a pilot in 2010, Charleston County's Bees Ferry Compost Facility has composted nearly 8,000 tons of food waste, successfully diverting this material from the landfill and saving valuable landfill space. Now entering its third year, the program has many diverse participants, including schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, local restaurants, grocery stores and other food-waste generators.

For more information and to learn how to get involved, contact Charleston County Environmental Management at 843-720-7111 or visit www.recycle.charlestoncounty.org.

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