To help reduce the amount of material being sent to the landfill, New Hanover County Recycling and Solid Waste has opened an outdoor facility where the public can learn how to compost at home. Located at Recycling and Solid Waste offices (3002 US Hwy 421 N, Wilmington), this newly installed educational site is designed to show best practices when using organic waste to create material that can be used as nourishment for gardens and other outdoor plants.

“Our landfill only has a finite amount of space, so any opportunity to give materials a second life before they are discarded is something that is great for the environment and our community,” said Recycling and Solid Waste Director Joe Suleyman. “Along with our ongoing recycling efforts, composting is a simple way to take those scraps or peelings you planned to throw away and convert them into something useful, while helping reduce the amount of waste being sent to our landfill.”

Along with composting education, the new site features mulch and gravel from reclaimed materials recovered at the landfill, while the compost bin and benches in the area are constructed from reclaimed wood. The site is open to the public 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday for self-guided tours. This new facility is the latest in continued efforts by the county to foster environmentally sustainable practices throughout the community.

A newly created Garbage to Gardens School Composting Program was officially launched during the 2023-24 school year, which is a collaboration between the the New Hanover County Arboretum and N.C. Cooperative Extension, NHC Recycling and Solid Waste, the Wilmington Compost Company and these 10 area educational facilities – Winter Park Elementary, Bradley Creek Elementary, Porters Neck Elementary, Blair Elementary, Carolina Beach Elementary, Wrightsville Beach Elementary, Myrtle Grove Middle, SEA Tech High, D.C. Virgo Academy and Milestones Learning Center.

This program is designed to encourage young people to learn about practical ways to be environmentally friendly in their everyday life, helping build good habits for a more sustainable future. Between these sites, an estimated 60,000 pounds of compostable cafeteria waste has been diverted from the landfill since last July and is currently being turned into compost for gardening.

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