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Wake County Wants Everyone To Compost Food Scraps

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Coffee grounds, banana peels and old fruit are items that usually end up in the trash, but that could soon change. Wake County is trying to get everyone to compost.

When water and oxygen are added to food scraps, they are converted into dirt. Composting speeds up the natural breakdown.

Every year, 115 tons of food end up at the North Wake County landfill. Officials said some of it used to come from the state Farmer's Market in Raleigh.

"Last year, we had about 75,000 pounds of food that was diverted (from the landfill)," said Jerry Holleman, assistant director of the state's Farmer Market.

The food is now diverted away from the landfill because farmers use bins to recycle everything from corn husks to soft watermelons. The food gets hauled off by a company that composts it.

The problem is that the state Farmer's Market is one of the few places in Wake County that compost.

"We have maybe four or five more years left until the landfill fills up," said Kelley Dennings of the state's Solid Waste Division. "So as much as we can extend that would be good. We don't have another alternative right now."

According to the county planning department, for the past two years, 61 people a day have moved into Wake County, which means more trash and less space at the landfill.

"Trash disposal is something we all take for granted. We put it on the curb and it goes away, but there's a cost," Kelley said.

If you want to find out about composting in your own back yard, you can call

(919) 856-5597

. You can also buy a composting bin for $30 at the North Wake County landfill.