Charleston Okays Paper Bags for Garden Refuse

March 29, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Marc Knapp
Citizen Reporter

Charleston City Council members weren’t especially enthusiastic about forcing city residents to dispose of garden refuse in paper bags for trash collection. But in view of the county decision not to accept garden trash in plastic bags, it seemed the city had little choice.

As the city staff reminded members during the March 22 meeting, Charleston County was trying to save space in the Bees Ferry landfill.

Garden waste has been mulched and available for sale in the past. But unfortunately the mulching process included the plastic bags which made the mulch un-saleable. So, no more plastic bags after June 30 this year.

The county did not tell the municipalities that they had to use paper bags but it was the only realistic alternative.

Municipalities could choose to allow citizens to leave garden waste un-bagged. But the collection of un-bagged waste would have been a costly challenge, very unsightly and brought with it the likelihood of many clogged drains.

Council members were not too enthusiastic about paper bags, either. They’re not durable, particularly in wet weather, and could prove expensive.

Staff told council members that Charleston County was working to ensure that supplies were carried by a number of retailers. Somebody noted that the cost of five 30-gallon bags was $1.50 – cheap perhaps, but still above the unit cost of a plastic bag.

Council ultimately voted in favor of paper bags for garden waste collection.