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Compost it. Don't waste it.

What are you doing with your food scraps? Your yard debris? Instead of throwing these items in the trash, consider composting them.

You've probably heard about it but what exactly is composting?  Composting is nature's way of recycling. Microorganisms break down organic material - like yard trimmings and food scraps - into a dark, crumbly, soil-like amendment that can be used for gardening and landscaping.

Turn your waste into a valuable product.
Whether you're a homeowner, an educator, a solid waste professional or a business owner, composting reduces your waste, your water bill and your fertilizer purchases, saving you money. 

Let us help you get started.
The Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling (Office) offers free resources and assistance to help residents, schools, local government and businesses compost more and waste less. For additional information, call 1-800-768-7348.

Residents
Compost is a free fertilizer and mulch you can make in your own backyard. To get started composting at home, check out our residential composting guide or fact sheets on composting and grasscyling.

Unsure about what to put in your backyard compost pile? Use the "Compost This!" card as a quick reference.

Looking for more in-depth guidance on sustainable gardening practices? Download the S.C. Smart Gardener Handbook.

If you're not ready to compost yourself, many local governments compost residential yard trimmings. Some local governments sell or give away compost for you to use, too.  To see if these services are available in your area, choose the county where you live.

Businesses
Just like your recycling program, composting can save you money by reducing your waste disposal costs. Businesses of all sizes have a range of on-site composting options. Your business can:

  1. Compost on your property using traditional in-ground composting methods or
  2. Use an in-vessel composter if your space is limited. In-vessel composting involves enclosing compostable material in a drum or other container and controlling the temperature, moisture and aeration to produce finished compost rapidly. See our in-vessel composting fact sheet for more details.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a detailed explanation of the different types of composting methods on its website.

If your business is in Charleston County, you may be able to participate in its food waste composting program

For additional information about composting for businesses, see the Green Hospitality Program's composting fact sheet or contact the Smart Business Recycling Program or Green Hospitality Program.

Schools
Composting provides hands-on learning for students and complements existing school recycling efforts. Plus, it may help your school save money. If you want to start composing at school, see Composting: A Guide for South Carolina Schools.

Not sure how composting would work at your school? Learn how students at Oakview Elementary and Charleston County schools compost its cafeteria waste.

Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, the Office will offer training, presentations and workshops specifically about school composting. For more information, call 1-800-768-7348.

Local Governments
Take your recycling program to the next level by composting. Composting makes a valuable soil amendment that can be used for landscaping, erosion control and even remediation projects. Plus, you can gain community support by providing compost to the public. 

Counties in South Carolina are already making and using compost. Learn how Charleston County has expanded its composting program to accept food waste.

Encourage your residents and businesses to compost, too. The Office provides customizable materials to help you spread the word about composting and assistance starting or growing your composting program. To request copies of publications or for additional information, call  1-800-768-7348.

Composting Regulations
If you are a business, local government, college/university or other entity interested in starting a new composting operation, call the DHEC Division of Mining and Solid Waste at 803-898-1367 to find out if you need a permit. Please note that backyard composting does not require a permit.

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