Last Step is first stop for jobs, new industry in Chester County

Last Step Recycling, LLC, an automotive shredder residue (ASR) company, on Monday announced plans to establish operations in Chester County. The $46.4 million investment will create 50 new jobs.

Founded in 2019, Last Step Recycling, LLC processes ASR to capture metals such as copper, aluminum and other resources. These recycled metals are then used in appliances, automobiles and technology equipment across numerous industries.

Located in Chester Technology Park in Chester, Last Step Recycling, LLC’s new facility will recover sellable material from ASR that would normally go to a landfill. This green initiative will reduce waste and preserve natural resources.

The new facility is expected to be operational by July 2022. Last Step Recycling, LLC will begin hiring in the spring of 2022.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $200,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Chester County to assist with costs related to the project.

Last Step is breaking ground on their new facility at Chester County Technology Park today, Monday, July 12. The company will be building a 230,000-sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility.

The N&R interviewed Chester County Economic Development Director Robert Long about the newest addition to the county’s industrial scene. The project started out life as Project Hudson (or Project 2024).

“Businesses like this are typically a startup business, but the people behind this business have a lot of experience in North Carolina and Georgia in the recycling business.

“The owners have developed some proprietary technology where they are able to take chopped-up car parts and take them through a new technology where those parts go through a grinding process that separates out the metals and plastics.

“This is a very green company. Used vehicles are a waste stream that are currently going into landfills,” Long said. “I think here in South Carolina, they will be able to greatly reduce what ends up going to those landfills by taking the parts an additional step, while at the same time, creating materials that can be used by other industrial sectors. It’s a great project,” Long said.

The site will be about 50 acres and will be served by the L&C Railroad. The processed material will be shipped out by truck, Long said.

He said the operations of the industry would be done under a roof, which will reduce the possibility of noise, and all the parts for processing will be stored underneath the building’s roof as well.

The building should be completed within 8-9 months after Monday’s groundbreaking and then the equipment will be ordered.

Long said the industry chose Chester because of the ready access to rail, and they will locate on a site in the Technology Park (near the current HQ of Chester County Natural Gas Authority and the York Tech Chester campus) purchased several years ago by a flour mill that was going to utilize the rail access to bring in the wheat for processing. That project never materialized, so most of the land purchased by Last Step was owned by this flour mill. They also purchased some additional land nearby.

Long said the 50 or so jobs the industry is bringing will start out paying a wage of about $20 per hour, above the Chester County average for wages. The industry will be hiring their employees in about six months through readySC, Long said. Training of the new employees may take place at nearby York Tech Chester campus.

By Brian Garner, Staff Reporter with The News & Reporter