We would like to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated and supported to make this 2021 Compost-a-thon a great success! Together, 4403 pounds of food waste were composted, over a total of 335 entries. Let’s keep more compost coming to give it back to the Earth!

Ten winners were selected from the online raffle. The winners will be contacted today by email, and will have 30 days to claim their prizes. Winners can receive a gift certificate to one of the three farmers’ markets of their choice: Carrboro Farmers Market, Chapel Hill Farmers Market, or Eno River Farmers Market.

Another special thank you to the Orange County Solid Waste Management, the Carrboro Farmers Market, the Chapel Hill Farmers Market, Eno River Farmers Market, Troop 39, all donors and volunteers, for making this event possible!

All Orange County residents are invited to take part in the 2021 Compost-A-Thon events. Consisting of FREE virtual and in-person events with chances to win prizes, the Compost-A-Thon offers fun as well as key information for community members to take action for the sustainable handling of food waste.

Got fruit peels, food scraps or spoiled leftovers?
Reuse them as food for the soil through composting.

Approximately 1 pound of food waste is generated per American per day. Food waste is the No. 1 contributor to US landfills, causing irreparable harm to the environment. We need to work together to make the change!

We can all do our individual part to both reduce food waste at its source and divert food waste from landfills. The Compost-A-Thon encourages residents to spread awareness, practice composting knowledge, and celebrate our collective efforts through community composting. We will be proud of how BIG of an impact we can achieve as a community.

Check out the EVENTS. Read on to learn more about what, where, and why to compost, and how to partake in the sustainable efforts.

How to Participate in 3 Simple Steps


Please refer to the Q&A below for more details.


Separate food waste from non-compostable materials, removing any stickers, rubber bands, or plastic wraps. Have a compost bin handy to collect food waste. Weigh and log the food waste collected. Check out WHAT TO COMPOST to avoid contamination.


Fill out the FORM to report your composting efforts, just like in a read-a-thon. Your efforts will then be counted in the community tally. The final total will be announced and celebrated, and you may become a prize winner! (Consider collect/log daily and then consolidate them into a weekly total, for a weekly submission using the online FORM.)


Choose to drop off the food waste at any of the 5 collection sites, or compost at home. Check out WHERE TO COMPOST in Orange County, NC.

Compost-A-Thon Q & A

Q: Is Compost-A-Thon still for me, even if I haven't/don't intend to compost in my backyard? If so, how can I get started?

A: Absolutely! The Compost-A-Thon is for you and everyone else, regardless of experience/skill level. You don't need to compost at your backyard to be part of this sustainable effort. Everyone can participate by simply collecting food waste and dropping it off at any of the collection sites, so this valuable waste can be reused through composting with both environmental and economic benefits. You can get started by just having a compost bin handy. Information throughout this website, as well as a friendly mobile app called GoCompost, can help make composting easy for you.

Q: Do I include only "food waste and compostable items" in my entry for the Compost-A-Thon? How about other compostable materials, such as yard trimmings?

A: Yes, please just include the weight of collected food waste, as well as other related compostable items, such as certified compostable serviceware (cups, utensils, take out containers), food soiled-paper (paper towels, napkins), greasy pizza boxes, etc. in your Compost-A-Thon entry. Please note that greasy paper with food stains cannot be recycled, so it can only be composted or thrown away. As for your yard trimmings, the towns have a separate operation to collect those, and there is also separate collection for yard waste at the Waste Recycling Centers, so please do not include yard waste in your entry for the Compost-a-thon. You can also compost at home, or drop off other compostables and recyclables at Orange County's Waste Recycling Centers. The GoCompost App can also help users check what (both food waste and non food waste) is compostable and where to drop it off. Check WHAT TO COMPOST for more information.

Q: Where can I compost my food waste?

A: You can choose to drop off your food waste at any of the following collection locations in Orange County, NC during their operating hours. Check the WHERE TO COMPOST page for their locations and hours.

  • Eubanks Waste Recycling Center

  • Walnut Grove Waste Recycling Center

  • Chapel Hill Farmers Market

  • Carrboro Farmers Market

  • Eno River Farmers Market

Also, you can compost at home or at other locations that accept certain compostable materials, such as the Carolina Community Garden and some other local gardens.

Q: When can I enter the Compost-A-Thon form?

A: The Orange County Compost-A-Thon signup form opens on August 21, 2021 and will close on September 18, 2021. Participants are encouraged to log their daily composting efforts and consolidate them for entering this signup form on a weekly basis.

Q: How do I measure the weight of my food scraps at home?

A: Consider measuring in this way if you use a container to collect food scraps: First, measure and record the weight of your empty container. Then, place your food scraps in the container, and weight it (to get the overall weight including both food scraps and the container). Finally, subtract the container weight from the overall weight, to get the weight of your food scraps. If you use a compostable bag to collect food waste, there is no need to weight separately.

If a scale is not conveniently available for measuring the weight of food waste, please provide a reasonable estimate. Without a scale, consider “ounces to cups” to roughly estimate the weight of your food waste. Each cup contains 8 ounces. Although food weight varies with given volume, it’s a simplified approach to “guesstimate.” Meat and cooked food may be heavier, while pasta and fresh leafy produce may be lighter. Examples of 1 pound of food: 2 cups of ground pork; 3 medium-sized apples; 2-3 medium-sized bananas; 3 baseball-sized tomatoes; 2 cups of chopped tomatoes. Each gallon equals 16 cups, so a 5-gallon bucket will hold 80 cups, roughly 40 pounds of food, if densely filled, although it will be variable depending upon different food/scrap types.

Weight is self-reported (and doesn't have an impact on the raffle), but more accurate measurements would be greatly appreciated as the information will be useful for improving the program.

Q: May I submit as many entries as I want?

A: Everyone is encouraged to compost as much food waste (that cannot be eaten or otherwise used) as possible as their daily routine. For the purpose of this event, participants are encouraged to log and consolidate their daily composting efforts for a couple of days to yield a solid number. Each email address may submit up to 5 entries during the event period.

Q: How do I know if I win a prize?

A: Winners will be contacted through email by October 1, 2021. Additional prizes will be available during the "Compost-A-Thon Meet the Composters!" at the Farmers Market on the event days. Learn more about the EVENTS.

Why Composting?

Everyone's ProblemFood waste is much more than wasting food. It also wastes the energy, water, and other resources used to produce, transport, and sell these food products. It further causes even more significant environmental consequences when it is landfilled. Organic waste, such as food in landfills, releases methane, a greenhouse gas 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.
More than 30% of US food supply, valued at $160 billion a year, is never eaten and often ends up in landfills, while at the same time, one in five households experiences food insecurity. Tossing food is expensive and also harms the environment; in fact, approximately 80 billion pounds of food waste are generated each year, making it the No. 1 component in US landfills.
A Down To Earth SolutionHalf of the waste in US landfills is compostable. Composting is an easy and effective way to cut down our waste stream and reduce landfilling and methane emissions. It also gives the organic waste a new life by reusing its nutrients in planting, leading to many other benefits such as improved soil fertility, water retention, and crop quality. Composting also creates green jobs and economic opportunities. However, many of us are not aware of the urgency of and opportunities for composting. According to an EPA report, only 6% of food waste is composted.
Be the Change!Everyone can participate in composting, as it can be a solution to today’s waste and global warming crisis. If you haven’t done so, TODAY is the day to get started with composting, by just having a compost bin handy and including one extra step in your kitchen routine. Read on to learn more about what and where to compost/drop off food waste, tracking your impact with the GoCompost app, and being part of growing a greener community. And be proud, knowing you are making a difference!

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