Cameras crack down on illegal recycling

Bluffton recycling center installs security cameras to stop illegal dumping problem.

BLUFFTON, Sc. (WSAV) – Bluffton has the busiest recycling center in Beaufort with about 200 cars driving through in a weekend hour, and now there are three security cameras installed to start catching those driving in from other counties as well as commercial businesses.

Glass, plastic, household trash, and even microwaves… It’s all welcome at the Bluffton Convenience Center of Simmonsville Rd. And Bluffton Pkwy.

“In New York, just to drop a little thing is gonna be $5 or $7 dollars or something like that,” said Bluffton resident David Emmett, “They have a beautiful thing here where we can drop solvents and things like that and I think that’s wonderful.”

But not just anyone is allowed to recycle at the convenience center. People who live outside of Beaufort County, commercial businesses and contractors aren’t allowed to use the center because it becomes more expensive for local taxpayers who are paying to fund it. that’s why they’ve installed security cameras with license plate recognition.

Jim Minor with the Beaufort county solid waste and recycle said the cameras will allow them “to put together software searches that will show up frequent use patterns” and “identify possibly folks that are violating the law.”

Most Bluffton residents say they drive through two to three times a week.

“I come here, and I do the newspapers, the bottles, and the people here are very nice, they help me if they see I have a big load,” said Lorraine Mullaney.

But those who stay only in the summer are a little concerned…

“We live in New York and we live down here. So you see a license plate that doesn’t seem to match ya know you shouldn’t prejudge,” said Anita Doll.

And some commercial businesses say the risk is worth it…

Jon McMurry is a commercial painter in the area… He said, “if I didn’t bring my paint cans here, I would just have to throw them away in the regular trash…You really shouldn’t do that, you really should recycle at all costs.”

Minor says the cameras are really to stop commercial businesses and contractors. He says when they’re asked to leave by staff—they often ignore and get into arguments. The footage will provide evidence in court to hold those people accountable.

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