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Sullivan’s Island Mayor’s Message: February 2018

Dear Island Neighbors,

OK, let’s talk a little trash. Also garbage and recycling. In January, with two scheduled weekday holidays (New Year’s Day, MLK Day) and several unscheduled snow days, it may have felt like anybody’s guess as to when our garbage, recycling materials and yard debris would finally leave home. In short, failure-to-launch castoffs at the curb. But regardless of the month, we often get questions from residents about what gets picked up on which days and under what circumstances. Longtime resident Duke Wright recently made the timely suggestion that we get the necessary info out to you, so here goes.


All of our refuse services are covered by the property taxes paid by Island property owners to the Town and Charleston County. The Island is served by two providers, one for garbage, yard debris and bulk trash, and the other for recycling materials. Republic Services is the vendor the Town contracts with for a) garbage (green roll-out cans) and b) yard debris (leaves, grass clippings, tree and bush cuttings) and c) bulk trash items such as broken chairs, beat-up bikes (hands off mine!), and other non-yard items too big for the roll-out cans. By using an outside contractor instead of acquiring our own trucks and personnel, we are able to keep the per-resident cost of all these services to less than one hundred dollars per year. However, our private contractor takes all our stuff to the Charleston County landfill, and must abide by its regulations.


The garbage pickup schedule varies with the season, as we have heavier demand during summertime. For most of the year, from Labor Day to Memorial Day, garbage is picked up once a week, on Tuesdays. In the summer season (roughly Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend), it is picked up twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Regardless of season, get your roll-out can out the night before, as these guys start early in parts of the Island. Please be aware that the garbage trucks are one-person operations; there is a boom and claw on the side of the truck that lifts the can, dumps it into the truck, and then returns the can to the side of the road, all operated from the driver’s seat. So, precision in the relocation is not guaranteed. Our contract price for garbage pickup is based on this arrangement vs. paying for one or two additional workers to do it more precisely by hand. Garbage cans at beach access paths and other Town public spaces are collected by Republic on the same schedule as household collections.

[Note that Island businesses coordinate directly with their own waste disposal companies for their dumpsters on their own schedules.]


Republic also does the once-weekly collection of bulk trash and yard debris, on Wednesdays. It’s important to remember a few things about these collections:

1. Grass and yard debris clippings, leaves, etc. must be in paper (not plastic) bags. This is a requirement of the County landfill. And definitely not in a loose pile, which is not covered by our contract.

2. Tree and bush limbs must be cut to less than four feet in length.

3. Unlike residents’ work, if you use landscaping and other paid yard maintenance personnel, they are responsible for carting off all of their yard debris. They may not leave it on the side of the road. Their price to you should include its removal.

4. Our contract with Republic does not include raking and collection of residual yard debris. If you put out some limbs on Saturday and some of the leaves or twigs fall before the Wednesday pickup, those will not be picked up.

5. If you and your family get really ambitious one weekend and do a whole lot of yard work producing an atypically large amount curbside yard debris, don’t be surprised if some of it is left for the next week. Our contract does not call for unlimited numbers of trucks in a given week.

6. Certain items such as TVs, air conditioner units or refrigerators, etc., may not be accepted by the County landfill. A list of items considered Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) and the Charleston County HHW Recycling Center drop-off sites may be found on the County website at


Our recycling pickup is handled by Charleston County and funded by property taxes of County property owners. The County coordinates and manages the calendar for this service. Recycling materials must be placed in the blue roll-out carts for curbside collection on alternating Wednesdays…unless there is a holiday in the week. Please visit the County website for the 2018 curbside collection calendar at For recyclable cardboard only, too large for your roll-out, we have a larger recycling bin at Battery Thompson, across I’on from the back of the Post Office.


If your garbage, yard debris or bulk trash is not picked up by early afternoon on a designated pickup day, please call Kate 843.883.5743 or Jessi 843.883.5727 in Town Hall. If your RECYCLING can is not emptied by 3 p.m. on the designated pickup day, please call Charleston County Recycle Center 843.720.7111.


We can talk of contracts and taxes and who is supposed to do what, but I try to remind myself that none of the stuff I put at the curb goes anywhere without the efforts of a hard-working person laboring in often-difficult conditions…hot, cold, wet, smelly. When you see the folks who clear your curbside, please thank them, or at least give them a wave and a smile. Even if they are on their way to someone else’s curb.

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil, Mayor


Twitter: @oneilpm1

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