'Garbage Queen' to Retire in Nelson Co. - WSET.com - ABC13

'Garbage Queen' to Retire in Nelson Co.


Reporter: Sally Delta

Nelson Co., VA - She helped create jobs in Nelson County while cleaning it up at the same time, and now Susan McSwain, better known as "the Garbage Queen," has retired.  

McSwain actually helped close 18 unstaffed dumpsters in the county. To replace them, she helped re-open four staffed sites which created roughly 23 jobs.

Residents say for the past few years she's done a lot for the county, and some don't know where they'd be without her.

The trash drop off site in Nelson County looked like back in 2002 was a mess before McSwain got a hold of them.

"You didn't want to go to them, it smelled bad and bees and trash all over the place," said Robert Johnson, a Nelson Co. resident.

Some people were dropping off dead animals and dumpster diving, and that was enough for McSwain.

"People were lowering children into the dumpster site to collect recyclables," she said.

So McSwain and some fellow volunteers did some research and came up with a plan to fix it.

"She's just organized things so well," said Dale Rogers, with Public Works in Nelson County.

Four sites now have someone on hand to monitor what goes in. She gave people like Donna Adams a job.

"I retired and I needed something to get me out of the house and meet other people in the community and this has been perfect," said Adams.

There are three garbage compactors and recycling containers for plastics, metal and paper. To deter dumpster diving, she created a Re-use shed.

"If people don't want to throw things away they put them in there and other people come and see it and take it for free, it's a win win," said McSwain.

Locals can't thank her enough for all her hard work.

"I think it would be a much worse place without her. I can't wait to see her next project," said Adams.

McSwain's new system reduced the amount of out-of-county waste in half and cut dump truck usage by 40 % by using more efficient containers.

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