Green Behind the Scenes: Esther Murphy

By Leslie Moore

Green Behind the Scenes: Esther Murphy

Esther Murphy, Director of Recycling, Horry County Solid Waste Authority

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m originally from Newark, New Jersey, and moved here in 1989 – right after Hurricane Hugo. My husband, Kendall, and I have been married for 23 years and live in Aynor in the Cool Spring community. We have two daughters; Chantrey is 27 and a doctoral student at Texas A&M and Shanice is 20 and a theater student at the College of Charleston.

I have been with the Horry County Solid Waste Authority for 21 years – a long time I know! I oversee the Recycling and Corporate Affairs division.

Why is recycling important?

People often say, “I’m just one person, why does it matter if I recycle my one bottle?” It does matter, and I encourage everyone to visit the SWA and learn where their garbage and recycling goes after they leave it at the curb. Forty percent of our landfill space is filled with fiber (cardboard, newspaper, junk mail), one of the easiest materials to recycle! The Solid Waste Authority’s recycling programs help conserve landfill space which lengthens the life of the landfill. This is one reason why it is so important to give our recyclable material a new life.

We give presentations in schools and in the community, and we always show them the things that can be made from recycled materials – those plastic bottles end up as your teddy bear or a tee shirt; used cooking oil is made into biofuel or even lipstick! In Dorchester County they have converted two of their vehicles to biofuel vehicles – which they call French Fry 1 and 2. [laughing]

We sell recycled glass mulch for landscaping and a finer grade for driveways. It’s really beautiful. Residents can also buy mulch and compost made from recycled yard debris. Another interesting fact: Our landfills generate enough methane gas to power 2100 homes in Horry County!

Horry County strives to make recycling as easy as possible with our comingled recycling program, which allows citizens to place all of their recyclables in one container. We also offer several recycling options for businesses that can actually save them money on dumpster service and landfill fees.

How do you recharge and renew after a busy day?

When my daughters were in school I was busy all the time – there was always something going on after school. These days, life is much simpler. I enjoy watching TV with my husband and playing video games. My daughter just got me started on “The Sims.” Weekends, I’m in church a lot; I’m the church clerk at Come As You Are Bible Fellowship in Conway. We travel to Texas and New Jersey to see family as often as we can.

For more information about recycling in your community, visit www.solidwasteauthority.org in Horry County, www.georgetowntowncounty.org in Georgetown County and www.brunswickcountync.gov in Brunswick County.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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