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.