“What can we do for our community in meeting today’s environmental challenge?”

This was the question asked by a team of high school volunteers as they reached out to the Orange County Solid Waste Management during the pandemic last year. Kyra Levau, the agency’s Recycling Education & Outreach Coordinator, welcomed the students and shared in depth the pressing concerns about food waste and urgent needs for increasing community composting. Orange County's main goal and objective with composting is to reduce the amount of waste we are sending to the landfill and contribute to a closed-loop system by diverting valuable waste from landfill and giving it back to the Earth.

These educational discussions prompted the students to become advocates for community composting. Through their own practice and surveys, they further developed a mobile app called GoCompost as both a motivational and practical tool to help build composting habits. The app is now available on both App Store and the Google Play Store. The app is free to use and enables features to access the composting programs and support in Orange County, NC. Users can track their progress and impact, knowing they are making a difference.

Bo Chi is one of them. He is a Chapel Hill native and a Boy Scout of the Chapel Hill based Troop 39. To continue the efforts for promoting community composting, Bo got an idea to organize a community engagement campaign for Orange County as his Eagle Project. An Eagle Project is a community service project required to complete the Eagle Rank. Bo’s proposal was well received by his Troop leaders and the Orange County Solid Waste Management. With their support and the help of the fellow scouts and many community volunteers, the Orange County Compost-A-Thon is underway towards its mission - to promote and celebrate community composting, by diverting food waste from landfills and giving it back to the Earth through composting.

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve and learn from many community members I interact with. I would also like to give special thanks to Ms. Levau, my Troop and all volunteers for their incredible support. The numerous role models around our community are the reason why I am positive that a campaign like the Compost-A-Thon can bring out the spirit of our community in meeting the challenges we are facing,” said Bo.

"Composting and waste reduction efforts are essential in building a healthy, sustainable community. The Compost-A-Thon events are great opportunities for community building and engagement to work towards the shared goal of sending less waste to the landfill and building healthy soils," shared by Kyra Levau.