New Hanover County’s Composting Program diverts food waste from the landfill and makes a meaningful step towards reducing the amount of waste the county generates. The program began with a successful partnership between the county, the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), and UNCW’s Dining Services by diverting pre-consumer food waste from UNCW’s Wagoner Dining Hall. It has grown to a full-scale program that diverts food waste from the university, local restaurants, Live Oak Bank, Tidal Creek Co-op, and local residents.

UNCW’s Campus Dining Services recently hit an important milestone - 100 tons of food waste diverted! UNCW has been diverting pre and post-consumer food waste from the landfill and into the composting program since November 16, 2017. As of August 26, 2019, 100 tons of food waste have been turned into nutrient-rich compost!

Residents can bring unpackaged food waste to the county’s composter or HazWagon, free of charge. You can also set up food waste collection at your home or business by emailing the Wilmington Compost Company. Learn more about where to bring food waste, and what is accepted below.

Residents can bring the following food waste materials to be composted:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (remove plastic stickers)
  • Meat, poultry, and fish (no bones larger than your index finger)
  • Dairy products, including yogurt, cheese, sour cream, butter
  • Spoiled or uneaten food, cooked or raw
  • Breads, crackers, cookies, and other baked products
  • Eggs and egg shells
  • Pet food
  • Pasta, rice, cereals, grains, and flours
  • Herbs and spices
  • Coffee grounds, coffee filters, tea bags
  • Any bags, plates, flatware, straws or cups marked “BPI Certified Compostable”
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Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) award

New Hanover County is pleased to announce that the composting program won the Carolina Recycling Association award for Outstanding Performance in Recycling and Waste Reduction at its annual conference on March 19, 2019! Watch the following video to learn more.