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Compostable Organic Waste Makes Up Nearly 70% Of Landfill Stream In New Hanover County

New Hanover County Department of Environmental Management
Huckleberry, New Hanover County's new composter, in all her glory.

Food waste and other organic material accounts for more than half of New Hanover County’s landfill stream.  That’s why a new food waste collection program starts July 1st.

Sixty-five to seventy percent of the trash that goes into New Hanover County’s precious landfill space could actually, instead, feed Huckleberry, the county’s new composter.  The University of North Carolina Wilmington is already sending its food waste to the program – which Andy Mulvey, an Environmental Specialist with the county, oversees. 

He says starting July 1st, residents can collect just about any food waste, except hard matter like bones, and drop it off at the county’s environmental management site for no fee. 

"It stays in Huckleberry – it needs to reach 131 degrees for three days.  It reaches its pathogen reduction and it also kills seeds that might be in the double-ground waste.  You don’t want to provide someone with a product that’s loaded with seeds… From there, it goes through a trommel.  It’s separated out, and then we cure it in bunkers for an additional 11 days."

So far, the final product is only spread around county-owned sites such as Airlie Gardens and soccer fields.  But Huckleberry is far from operating at capacity.  If usage ramps up, Mulvey says they might expand the program and add composting units.

To listen to the full edition of CoastLine which featured the topic, follow this link:


Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.