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What is municipal solid waste (MSW)?

South Carolina defines MSW as the combined residential, commercial, institutional/non-profit and industrial packaging/office waste generated. This includes paper, cans, bottles, food scraps, yard trimmings, packaging and other items.

MSW does not include process waste such as scraps and by-products from manufacturing, construction and demolition debris, automobile bodies, agricultural waste combustion ash, mining waste and sewage sludge as well as hazardous, infectious and radioactive waste.  


What is the difference between MSW and process/manufacture waste from business and industry?

MSW (Office or Packaging Materials)

In addition to traditional office recycling programs (office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and water bottles), if a business or industry recycles the package a raw material comes in/on, the package is considered MSW. As a general rule, materials included in this category are those things that do not enter the manufacturing process.

Examples: A textile company uses thread to make cloth. The thread comes on cardboard cones or spools. Once all of the thread on a spool is used, the spool is recycled. The spool is considered MSW.

Process or Manufacture Waste (Scrap or By-product)

Process waste is any material used in or a by-product resulting from manufacturing that does not reach the consumer of that product (i.e., pre-consumer waste). This includes material or by-products placed back into any manufacturing process.

Examples: When paper mills place the paper by-products back into the paper manufacturing process instead of discarding, the paper put back into the process is considered a pre-consumer process waste. When a chicken nugget manufacturer sells scrap chicken to a dog food company, the scrap chicken is considered a pre-consumer process waste.



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Examples of MSW ...

The following table represents a general description of this material and should be used only as a guide when trying to categorize the sources of MSW. It does not mean all the items are recyclable; instead it represents typical MSW generated from these sources. This material, when recycled, count towards the state’s MSW recycling rate. This table is formatted after a combination of tables and contains information as it relates to S.C. laws governing solid waste.


(single- and multi-family homes)

Newspapers, clothing, packaging, cans
and bottles, food scraps, yard trimmings,
bulk items and consumer electronics

(office buildings, retail and wholesale
establishments, restaurants, schools, libraries,
hospitals and prisons)

Cardboard, office paper, yard trimmings
and cafeteria waste (food scraps,
cans and bottles)

(packaging and office, but not process waste)

Cardboard, plastic film, wood pallets,
office paper and cafeteria waste (food scraps,
cans and bottles)

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For more information about reporting, please contact the Office at 1-800-768-7348.

This Web page was last updated on July 19, 2013.