Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there so many containers at the convenience center?

State law bans the placement of yard waste in the same landfill where household waste is placed. Thus, a separate container is required for yard waste and also one for household waste. There is a separate container for bulk waste items since these are placed in a separate landfill area on Highway 90. The other containers are needed to allow recyclable items to be sorted and processed efficiently.

What materials are landfilled?

The only items that are landfilled are household waste and bulk waste. The Solid Waste Authority receives an average of 700 tons of household waste each day.

Is recycling really beneficial?

Yes. The statewide recycling goal is 40% of the waste produced. Many cities are increasing their individual goals to as high as 50% because of the lack of space for landfilling. If recycling continues at the same rate in Horry County, it is estimated that our current municipal solid waste (household waste) landfill facility will have capacity until 2040.

What item appears most often in the waste stream?

Paper makes up 38% of the nation's trash. This includes cardboard, newspaper, junk mail, and white paper. Yard waste is second, but is not allowed in the landfill. The Solid Waste Authority grinds yard waste, land clearing debris, and clean wood, making it into compost or mulch. These items are sold back to the community.

I live in a city (Myrtle Beach, Conway, Surfside Beach, North Myrtle Beach) how do I recycle?

Click here to take a look at the municipal programs offered in Horry County. Each community has slightly different recycling guidelines so check your city to be sure.

When can I get free mulch?

The mulch that the Solid Waste Authority gives away each year is from our "Grinding of the Greens" project. This mulch comes from Christmas trees which are collected throughout Horry County after Christmas through mid-January. These trees are ground up and mulch is made available for the public at several locations throughout the county. The Solid Waste Authority runs ads in the local newspapers when this program is in effect.

What happens to medical waste?

Medical, or infectious waste, is handled by a private transporter and taken to a Medical Waste Treatment Facility. In South Carolina, SC DHEC must approve and requires reporting from these transporters and facilities. Infectious waste is treated at the facility before placed into a sanitary landfill. The treatment may only include the following as approved by SC DHEC: incineration, steam sterilization, chemical disinfection, or the treatment must be approved by SC DHEC. The treatment must be monitored by the use of biological indicators or laboratory culture to ensure that pathogens have been adequately treated. (Source: South Carolina Infectious Waste Regulations, May 2000)

Can I get a tour of the landfill and recycling facilities?

Yes. Please contact Public Education at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority to schedule a tour of the landfill and the materials recycling facility at (843) 347-1651 or education@solidwasteauthority.org. The SWA can accommodate up to 15 people, otherwise you can bring your own bus.

Terms To Know

Bale and Baler - A baler is a machine used to crush and compact recyclables (such as cans or paper) into a bale, which is a cube of compacted material. These bales are transported to a factory that turns the recyclable material into a new product.

Commingle - A term used to describe the recyclables: plastic bottles, metal cans and glass bottles, which are mixed together for collection and processing.

Compost - Compost is the result of the biodegradation of old yard waste, such as leaves, branches and grass. Compost is used in gardening and landscaping. It is available for sale at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority for $20 a ton.

Construction and demolition (C&D) debris - is the waste generated from the construction, remodeling, repair and deconstruction of homes, buildings, roads, bridges as well as drainage and sewage systems. C&D debris often consists of bulky materials. C&D debris may include bricks, concrete, wood, asphalt (from shingles and roads), glass, metal, plastic, plumbing fixtures and gypsum (the main material of drywall) and roofing as well as debris associated with land clearing and natural disasters. The Horry County Solid Waste Authority operates a C&D (Class II) Landfill to handle this type material.

Green Power - A term used to describe the process of generating electricity through renewable resources. The Green Power Program includes a methane gas facility at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, in which methane gas from the landfill is collected and used to generate power for homes and businesses in Horry County. The program is operated in partnership with Santee Cooper and Horry Electric.

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) - HHW is waste that is hazardous material, such as paint, pesticides and fertilizers and should be disposed of properly. The Horry County Solid Waste Authority offers a HHW Facility for residents to drop-off HHW for free disposal.

Landfill - A landfill is a special place to put garbage. Designed in layers, the landfill has a thick plastic liner on the bottom, so garbage will not harm the environment. Garbage is covered every day with dirt to control odors and vectors.

Leachate - Leachate is also known as garbage juice. The Horry County Solid Waste Authority ensures that leachate is properly collected and environmentally handled from the landfill. It is sent to the local sewer company for treatment.

Material Recycling Facility (MRF) - MRF is short for Materials Recycling Facility, which is a large sorting and processing area for recyclables. When recyclables come here, they are sorted and baled before being sent to a factory. The factory will then turn a recyclable, like a soda bottle, into something new, like carpet.

Mulch - Mulch is the result of ground up old yard waste, such as leaves, branches and grass. Mulch is used in gardening and landscaping. It is available for sale at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority for $15 a ton.

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) - MSW is short for municipal solid waste, which is regular household and commercial garbage, also known as wet garbage because it contains food waste. It is disposed of in a lined landfill at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority and environmentally secure.

OCC - Old Corrugated Cardboard is unbleached, unwaxed old cardboard that is recyclable.

Recycling - Recycling is separating recyclables (such as plastic bottles, metals cans, glass bottles and jars, cardboard, and mixed paper) from trash. It is the process of taking something old (such as a plastic bottle) and turning it into something new (such as carpet).

Special Waste - The Horry County Solid Waste Authority has a Special Waste Analysis and Implementation Plan in place to address any waste that is considered non-hazardous, non-residential or commercial wastes that may require special handling or unique management at a Class 3 landfill. This plan specifically states that the potential special waste must be evaluated by identifying the physical, chemical and biological characteristics in addition to any potential operational hazards that it may impose. Click here to access a copy of the
SWA Special Waste Analysis and Implementation Plan.

Tipping Fee - This is the fee charged to all haulers that dispose/recycle waste at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority facility on Highway 90. There is no fee to recycle materials at the MRF on 3 R Drive.