Composting of Food Waste in Charleston, South Carolina

by Tim Truscott


A common stereotype of the South by people in the Northeast is that the folks “down there” are generally backward and not progressive.

But that’s simply not true in Charleston County, South Carolina, where their Food Waste Composting project is years ahead of anything in the Capital Region or in New York State.

In September of 2010, the South Carolina Department Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) approved Charleston County’s application to implement a pilot project for composting food waste. This was the first approval ever granted in the state. By the end of August 2011, 1,859 tons of food waste had been processed (that’s 3,718,000 pounds of food). In June of 2012, South Carolina DHEC granted permanent approval and modified the facility’s permit to process up to 1,000 tons of food waste per week.

Both pre- and post-consumer food waste is accepted, including cooked meats and fish, egg and dairy products, food prep and plate scrapings, fruits and vegetables, bread/dough/bakery items and pasta/grains, as well as waxy produce boxes, food-soiled paper, coffee grounds and consumable liquids.

All of this would be possible in New York State and the Capital Region if there were only the political will to do it. It’s time for change!




Published in October/November, 2012 Save the Pine Bush Newsletter