Did you know that over 25% of Wake County household trash consists of organic material, such as food waste and yard waste, napkins and paper towels, that can be composted? Click on the links below to learn more about reducing the amount of food waste that goes to the landfill.

Backyard Composting

Composting is a natural process of recycling organic materials into a rich soil conditioner known as compost. Compost is full of nutrients to help plants and gardens grow.

All composting requires is four basic ingredients:

  • Browns – This includes materials such as, dead leaves, branches and twigs.

  • Greens – This includes materials such as, grass clippings, fruit and veggie scraps and coffee grounds.

  • Water – Compost systems should be moist, like a wrung out sponge.

  • Oxygen - Aerate your compost pile and/or bin by mixing the contents

Your compost pile should have a ratio of 2:1 for browns and greens. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen. You should also add organic materials of different-sized particles. Download a guide to backyard composting.  

Discounted Compost Bins

Manufactured compost bins are a great starting point if you are trying backyard composting for the first time. They are contained systems that take up less space than an open pile and are designed to be pest resistant. There are a number of different types of manufactured compost bins. Things to look for in a good compost bin include:

  • Made from a durable material

  • Adequate ventilation holes

  • A tight-fitting lid

  • A door at the base for easy access to the compost

For a limited time Wake County offers residents discounted compost bins, through a seasonal, pre-order sales program.

Food Waste Recycling Drop-off Program

Wake County Solid Waste has four food waste recycling drop-off locations. Residents can bring their food waste to the following Convenience Centers:

  • Convenience Center #4 at 3600 Yates Mill Pond Rd, Raleigh [map]

  • Convenience Center #7 at 9024 Deponie Dr, Raleigh [map]

  • Convenience Center #8 at 2001 Durham Ro/Highway 98, Wake Forest [map]

  • Convenience Center #10 at 5216 Knightdale-Eagle Rock Rd, Knightdale [map]

Sites are open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Yard waste is not accepted. Download the food waste recycling flier to see what's accepted. 

Food Waste Collection Services

Search for “compost services in Raleigh” to find local companies that can provide curbside collection services for food waste.

Yard Waste Collection & Drop-off 

Yard waste collection is provided curbside by many of the municipalities in Wake County. Yard waste can also be dropped-off at several locations; view a list of yard waste drop-off locations.

Commercial Food Waste Management

A significant amount of commercial food waste is generated from many sources each day, including food manufacturing and processing facilities, supermarkets, schools, prisons, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and food courts. Wake County encourages these large-scale food waste generators to manage their surplus food and to implement a food waste diversion program. Separating and managing food scraps can result in both economic and environmental benefits.

1. Assess your food waste

Take a quick look at the food waste you are throwing away and identify potential food recovery opportunities to decrease the amount you generate.

2. Conduct a food waste audit

For more detailed information, track and collect data on the types and amounts of each food scrap item you are generating. Collecting this data will help you determine if some of your food waste can be reduced by ordering or producing less, how much could be sent to food banks or shelters, and how much could be recycled through animal feeding, rendering or composting.

3. Plan for costs

There are costs related to collecting, transporting and composting food scraps. Talk to neigh­boring organizations about also instituting food waste collection at their facilities to create a cost-effective route for your hauler. You also might be able to generate revenue by selling compost created from your food waste. Use the EPA's Food Waste Management Calculator to estimate the cost competitiveness of alternatives to food waste disposal, including source reduction, donation, composting and recycling of fats, oils and grease.

4. Decide what food waste recovery option works best for you

The quantity and quality of your food scraps and your estimated generation rate will help you consider how to divert your food waste. To learn about waste disposal options contact haulers or composting facilities in the area. Here are some options:

Source Reduction:

Use your waste audit to identify ways to decrease the amount of food waste you generate. Are there any trends in the types and amounts of food waste you produce? If so, consider changing your busi­ness operation to buy only what you use.

Feed People:

You can donate unsold or excess food products that meet qual­ity and safety standards to food banks. Many national and local food recovery programs offer free pickups and containers. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (Public Law 104-210) protects food donators from legal liability. Local Food Banks:

Feed Animals:

Determine if local farmers or zoos use food scraps as animal feed. There are laws and regulations protect­ing animals from contracting diseases through consumption of food scraps. Contact your county agricultural extension office, your state veterinarian, or your county health department to find out about specific state regulations and contact information for licensed farmers. You also might find companies that convert food scraps into animal food products.

Industrial Uses/Rendering:

Fat, oil and grease can be rendered into a raw material to make biodiesel, soaps and cosmetics. Anaerobic digestion of food scraps and waste oils produces biogas that can generate heat and electricity, fiber that can be used as a nutrient-rich soil conditioner, and liquor that can be used for fertilizer.


Food scraps can be composted. Ask the composting facility you plan to use for a list of acceptable materials and hauling options. Find a hauler to pick-up the materials: search for “compost services in Raleigh