In Fort Mill, being green will soon be much easier

FORT MILL — Now that a contract has been awarded to build a new York County-run recycling and trash disposal in Fort Mill, a construction schedule is expected by mid-month, officials say.

If all goes well, including cooperative weather, the Fort Mill East Collection and Recycling Center on Fort Mill Parkway near Hensley Road should be open sometime in July, according to Eric Rekitt, public works director for York County. It’s been about a month since the county awarded the $1.8 million project bid to Leitner Construction out of Rock Hill.

“The contractor is expected to provide a construction schedule within the next two weeks,” Rekitt said.

When completed, the facility will replace a temporary site set up nearby after the original Fort Mill East site on Tom Hall Street across from the Fort Mill Recreation Complex closed. One of 16 public facilities spread out across York County, the old Fort Mill East site was on property leased by the county. In 2016, the property owner declined to renew the lease long-term after he received interest by a potential buyer looking to re-develop it for a medical office.

Although the temporary center does not accept everything residents can take to the 15 other county facilities, including the Baxter Center on S.C. 160 West, Fort Mill East will be full-service, Rekitt said. That means everything from household trash and mixed plastic recycling, newspapers and mixed paper, cardboard, glass and electronics, to cooking oil and paint. And more.

Going green

It’s been a busy time for the York County Public Works Department — particularly its recycling area. Recently, Tega Cay’s City Council approved an agreement with York County to bring its recycling to the county processing facility in York. That arrangement, pending approval by County Council — possibly as early as Monday — was necessitated after the city’s vendor, Charlotte-based Signature Waste, first dropped glass from its service, then plastic.

Changes in the market worldwide, but particularly in China, which used to be a major buyer of recycled materials before ramping up its own domestic programs, has caused major disruptions. The county’s processing facility, where items brought to the 16 “convenience centers” — as they are commonly known — are sorted, compacted and readied for transport, makes it easier for the county to market the material to trading partners.

Some manufacturers prefer recycled materials because it’s often cheaper and easier to obtain than making products from raw materials. Some manufacturers use recycled materials exclusively (you can read about other U.S. companies doing that here) .

“If you’re putting things in the bin that might not be what we take, that can end up being contamination,”


Educate yourself

Even the most conscientious, pro-environment recycler might sometimes do more harm than good if she or he doesn’t know what should and should not be placed in recycling bins or carts. Leslie Hatchell, recycling and education coordinator for York County, and Alysen Woodruff, clean community coordinator for the county, both stress that education is key.

Both suggest residents check the county’s website, which is updated with the latest information. Among their tips:

  • “Learn what can be recycled,” Hatchell said. “if you’re putting things in the bin that might not be what we take, that can end up being contamination,” that fouls processing.
  • “Forget about the numbers on (plastics) Woodruff said. “York County recycling accepts bottles, jugs and jars.”

Hatchell and Woodruff also said residents should be aware of any differences there may be between what the county accepts and what is collected in the other municipal programs and within individual subdivisions that contract for recycling services.

They invite residents to keep up with York County recycling news and tips on social media.

Bring it – shred it!

A household hazardous waste disposal and document shredding event will be held at the county facility in York March 2. Click here for details.

Top photo: Alysen Woodruff shows what can be recycled by York County; Bottom photo: Leslie Hatchell with examples of what not to place in the recycling stream.