The Berkeley County Recycling Center is nearing completion.
“Berkeley County will become one of the highest recyclers in the country,” said Brian Gilhuly, CEO of RePower South. “A lot of people do not recycle now because it is very costly.”
Right now, Berkeley County residents had two options for recycling: pay $40 a month to a private contractor, or sort their recyclables and drive them to the Berkeley County Convenience Center.
Gilhuly says the facility is expected to open by April and will create 51 new jobs, 30 of which have already been filled.
He said machines will utilize artificial intelligence to differentiate between trash and recyclable materials.
“We’re utilizing artificial intelligence to monitor the material on the belt,” Gilhuly said, pointing to a machine called Max AI. He said the machine can “remove basically or segregate material based on computer’s ability to recognize what it is as it comes across the belt.”
The facility is 100,000 square feet, and can handle up to 700 tons of waste every day.
“I think it’s extremely important,” said Karl Stechmesser, plant manager.
Once the recycling center opens, residents won’t even have to separate waste from recycling. It can all go into the same can, and machines at the recycling center will do it for them.
“We rely on a lot of automation and artificial intelligence to not only detect what material is going through the waste stream but to learn from that,” Stechmesser said.
“It was a great step forward in innovation for Berkeley County,” Gilhuly added. “There’s a lot of businesses and people moving here and we think this helps to support that overall activity.”
Officials said as of now, the Berkeley County landfill has enough space to accommodate 100 years wroth of trash. The new recycling center will double that to 200 years.
Officials added that some materials not able to be recycled will be used to create a bio fuel that can be used as an alternative energy source to coal.
“Anybody that utilizes coal as an energy source can utilize the bio fuel,” Stechmesser said.
Berkeley County is contracted with the facility for the next 25 years, officials said.