Why Food Waste Matters

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Rhonda Sherman with composting barrels

There are many types of compost bins available. Image by Rhonda Sherman, NC State.

Did you know food scraps are the largest category of waste disposed of in landfills? During Extension Master Gardener℠ College 2022, volunteers with the NC State Extension Master Gardener (EMG) program learned about the impact of food waste on the environment from Rhonda Sherman, NC State Extension Solid Waste Specialist. Rhonda shared that “inside the airless environment [of a landfill], food waste creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is causing climate change.” But Rhonda also had good news, “By composting or vermicomposting food scraps, you can recycle them back into the soil to grow more food.”

Pick Your Compost Bin

Rhonda led a tour of the NC State Compost Learning Lab, during which Extension Master Gardener volunteers learned about composting and vermicomposting on a small scale while examining 14 types of compost bins and 12 kinds of worm bins. They will take this knowledge back to their communities and share it with local residents to help reduce food waste by teaching others about composting and vermicomposting. 

Different composting barrels

Compost bin demonstration at the NC State Compost Learning Lab. Image by Rhonda Sherman, NC State.

Rhonda was one of several NC State faculty members, Extension specialists, and other leading experts to speak at EMG College, a continuing education conference that offers Extension Master Gardener volunteers the opportunity to learn the latest research-based information about gardening and environmental stewardship. 

EMG College 2022, A Food-Waste Free Event!

In addition to teaching our volunteers about the impact of food waste, the planning team felt it was important to be mindful of the waste that the conference produced. That is why EMG College 2022 was held as a food-waste free event. This involved working with our caterer to source compostable utensils, containers, and paper goods, but that wasn’t the only step. We also made sure attendees placed their waste in the correct receptacles so it could be collected and taken to the NC State Compost Facility. 

Learn more!

Extension Master Gardener volunteers connect people to the benefits of plants and gardens through their education and outreach work with N.C. Cooperative Extension. Connect with Master Gardener volunteers in your community