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A County Building Waste Audit Yields Surprising Results

Buncombe County is in a better position to significantly reduce its waste footprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a major part of our 2025 Strategic Plan. Thanks to a recent audit, we learned 67% of waste at our 200 College St. office can be composted or recycled, leading us to devise action steps to significantly improve our environmental stewardship.

On a very smelly, warm August afternoon, the waste audit was conducted by Buncombe County Solid Waste and the City of Asheville at 200 College St. in downtown Asheville. They collected all the garbage from the County administration building for one week, then divided the garbage between what should go to the landfill, what could be recycled, what could be composted (organic materials), and what could have been donated.

Here is what they came up with:

  • 138 pounds of total waste material was collected.
  • 52% of the material was compostable (the majority being non-food items such as food-soiled paper, paper towels, and packaging).
  • Of the organic materials found, 36% was edible.
  • Recycling comprised 15% of the waste material collected (with paper being the largest).
  • Overall, 67% of the waste (or 93 pounds) could have been saved from the landfill over a one-week period.

Through this waste audit, the County is coming up with an educational and composting plan through all County offices to decrease the amount of waste that ends up in our landfill. If one County office alone can decrease their waste footprint by 93 pounds per week imagine what some of the larger populated buildings can make progress on.

Our Solid Waste Department is making multiple strides to make sure our community has easy access to recycling through our waste removal contracts, at the County’s landfill, and transfer station. You can visit their website and read their newsletter to learn how you can stay up to date on green practices and create your own recycling or composting strategy at home. Also, stay tuned for an exciting opportunity to participate in a free compost pilot program this fall!

Recycle Graphic

Composting Graphic