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The county’s composting system is unique because it utilizes the “in vessel” method of composting - all of the material is composted in an enclosed vessel in which temperature, airflow, and turning are managed in a controlled environment.
The compost generated is a mixture of ground yard waste, ground untreated dimensional lumber and pallets, food waste, and animal bedding. The recipe was carefully selected to provide the right balance of nutrients and consistency. The compost is processed to eliminate potential pathogens and destroy weed seeds and fungus spores and screened to remove any potential contaminants or oversize material.
Compost is an amazing soil amendment that helps plants retain moisture, encourages strong root growth, provides a slow, steady release of nutrients, and inoculates the soil against some common pests and diseases. Soils amended with compost support healthier plants that can withstand long periods of drought while producing higher yields of fruits and vegetables. Using compost instead of fertilizers helps reduce pollutants found in stormwater runoff that affect our natural wetlands, rivers, and streams.
Typically, it takes about 30 days for compost to fully cure - 3 days in the composting unit and 4 weeks in the curing bunkers.
Currently, the compost is used for New Hanover County Parks and Gardens, including Airlie Gardens and the New Hanover County Arboretum. The compost is not available for purchase for commercial use.
Community organizations, gardeners, and non-profits interested in using the compost for personal use, research, education, or community gardens can email Environmental Management Director Joe Suleyman.
Yes! Please contact the Department at (910) 798-4400 to set up an appointment. Remember that you will need a tarp to secure your load if transporting compost in the bed of a pickup truck!
The composter is located at the New Hanover County Landfill, 5210 US Highway 421, Wilmington, NC 28402. Residents and businesses can bring food waste to the composter during normal business hours free of charge. In addition, residents can bring food waste to the county’s HazWagon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
When you bring food waste to the landfill, follow these simple steps: