DEQ Lunchtime Program Teaches Employees How to Compost at Home

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 12:30pm

The DEQ Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs took their Lunchtime Discovery Series to the Archdale Building recently to show DEQ and other state employees the benefits of composting. The workshop was held outside on the Halifax Mall where a small composting program has been in place since 2012.

The workshop was led by Corinne Law, Environmental Specialist with the Division of Waste Management. Corinne has been teaching backyard, community and farm-scale composting for more than a decade including work in Haiti and Egypt. In 2016, she led Atlanta’s first comprehensive composting course before joining the Solid Waste Section in Raleigh. She’s been a presenter at the U.S. Composting Council’s annual conference and at Georgia Organics’ annual conference.

The workshop was well attended and the questions raised were thoughtful. A lot of people are nervous about composting or have tried and felt like they failed. But the truth is the amount of effort required for backyard composting is minimal while the benefits are numerous!

The reasons to compost are the same as the rewards and almost everyone can relate to at least one of them. Backyard composting:

Diverts organic material from landfills where it decomposes anaerobically and creates methane. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is a precursor to ozone.

Reduces a family’s carbon footprint by reducing the material hauled to a landfill.

Creates aggregates in the soil which increase the pore space in clay soils and binds together sandy soils. This allows for better transfer of air, water, and nutrients.

Creates a valuable soil amendment that builds healthy soil by increasing soil biology and healthy plants by returning nutrients to the soil. Compost also buffers pH which affects nutrient availability and can eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.

Conserves water, mitigates erosion, and deters garden pests.

Offers a hands-on learning opportunity for children (and adults!) that teaches environmental stewardship.

There are a thousand ways to compost and the important thing is to find the way that works for you and your household. It may be vermiculture (composting with worms), an enclosed tumbler, or an open pile. It may even be a collection service that picks up your food scraps and composts them for you! Either way, it’s well worth the effort. Send your backyard composting questions to Corinne at Corinne.Law@ncdenr.gov. For more information and composting tips, click here.