Partner Profile: The North Carolina Composting Council
The North Carolina Composting Council (NCCC) is dedicated to creating healthy soils. Compost—or decomposed organic material—has immense benefits for soil that include strengthening plants’ immune systems, increasing the amount of water soil can hold, and stimulating plant growth. The NCCC, one of 11 state chapters of the US Composting Council, is a volunteer-based organization that educates North Carolinians about the economic and environmental benefits of compost and how to use it. The NCCC teamed up with the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (N.C. PSI) as a founding funder to encourage new research, applications, and awareness about composting in agriculture.
“We’re challenging our environment and the climate by filling our landfills and often releasing methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Compost is a phenomenal product that can combat those environmental challenges,” said Gary Gittere, president of NCCC. “There are a tremendous amount of things thrown away or discarded in landfills that we can compost. About 60% of municipal solid waste is compostable, including wood products and food waste and other organics like biosolids.”
Beyond reducing the amount of waste discarded in landfills, compost is a regenerative tool to improve agriculture and offset carbon.
“Compost improves the health of the soil by adding organic matter back into it. From an agricultural and economic perspective, compost helps increase yields and from a sustainable process, compost can help to sequester carbon,” explained Gittere.
The NCCC works with universities, large manufacturing organizations and the Department of Transport to increase compost use in small and large projects. They view N.C. PSI as an opportunity to propel environmental sustainability research forward.
“Like peanut butter and jelly, plants and compost go together. We would love to see N.C. PSI focus on climate change and sustainability in agriculture and consider utilizing products including compost that are naturally organic to help farmers produce higher yields and get through droughts,” said Gittere. “Our hope is that new research will include compost and bring awareness to what it can do to combat environmental challenges.”
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Senior Director of Development, Plant Sciences Initiative