Public Works

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Composting Solutions

Sign up today to attend a FREE Compost Giveaway Workshop this fall!

Workshop participants receive 3 free bags of organic compost, 2 instructional guidebooks about growing gardens and making compost during any season, and 30 minutes of instruction and Q&A with a Compost Expert. 
Please note: all workshops take place at the Compost Education Center in Bond Park and are open to Cary residents only.    
Interested participants must register directly through our EZ-REG system using one of the following course codes listed in the chart below.  

Course Code  Date Time
80779 Thursday, October 23, 2014 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
80780 Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
80781 Thursday, October 23, 2014 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
80782 Friday, October 24, 2014 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
80783 Friday, October 24, 2014 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

For questions about setting up an EZ-REG account, or using the EZ-REG system, click here or contact our Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department directly at (919) 469-4061.
For questions about the Compost Giveaway Workshops, or general compost inquiries, contact our Environmental Outreach Program Coordinator at (919) 469-4301.

What is Composting?
Composting is a natural process that turns organic materials into a rich soil amendment. Leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps are examples of items that can be composted. Depending on how much attention you devote to your compost pile, it can take as little as two weeks to as much as a year to generate compost. Most households can have finished compost in about three months.

The Town of Cary supports composting as a method for waste diversion and a water wise enhancement to your yard. Residential yard waste that is collected weekly by the Town is turned into compost by Town contractors. Food and paper waste generated by food vendors at the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival and the Spring Daze Arts and Crafts Festival is collected for composting. Each spring the Town hosts events such as the Compost Giveaway and Compost Bin Sale. Residents can learn more about composting throughout the year by visiting the Compost Education Center in Bond Park. The center includes a self-guided trail that demonstrates how to compost and shows different types of compost bins, the environmental and economic benefits, and how to use the finished product. Residents may also attend one of our many compost workshops that we host during the spring and fall.  See our EZ-REG guide for a complete list of available workshops.

Please see the complete Town Composting Ordinance by clicking the link below and check with your HOA, when applicable, regarding home compost restrictions.
Town Composting Ordinance

A Crash Course in Composting
A basic compost pile needs carbons (browns), nitrogen (greens), water, and oxygen. Carbon is dry material such as wood chips, dried leaves, dried grass, and shredded paper. Nitrogen is fresh moist material such as fresh grass cuttings and kitchen food scraps.

Recipe for the Perfect Pile - like a cake!

Types of Compost Bins
Compost bins come in all shapes and sizes from ready made store-bought models to home made designs. Compost piles can be left in the open air with chicken wire to prevent the wind from blowing items away, or enclosed with a lid which may be neater in appearance and better discourage animals from scavenging in the pile.

What Not to Put in a Compost Pile
Materials should NOT be composted if they promote disease, cause odors, attract pests, or create other nuisances. Some examples are as follows:

  • meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, foods containing animal fats
  • human or pet waste
  • plants infected with or highly susceptible to disease, such as roses and peonies
  • charcoal ash, contains sulfur dioxide which can harm plants

Sarah Justice
Environmental Outreach Program Coordinator 
Public Works Department
(919) 469-4301