Education & Outreach

Orange County Solid Waste Management (OCSWM) offers FREE educational services to Orange County schools, businesses, not-for-profits, faith-based organizations, civic groups, governmental organizations, and the public. Services include:

  • Free educational services:
    • Recycling Presentations and Workshops  
    • Compost Presentation and Workshops
    • Landfill Tours
    • Waste Assessments
  •  Additional services provided:

    • Recycling and compost container loans: We can provide you with recycling containers for your event free of charge.
    • Compost collection 
    • Fork – It – Over program

If you would like to receive our e-newsletter for up to date information about schedule changes, new program initiatives, special events and other timely recycling and solid waste related issues, click here to subscribe. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

OCSWM provides printed outreach material about our programs and services, and can provide content regarding Orange County recycling or composting information for other local or regional publications.

Recycling 101, 201, 301...

Recycling presentations and workshops can be provided for your classroom, community group, faith-based organization or other gathering.  Topics can range from the "3R’s"- a hand’s on discussion about waste reduction, what can be recycled, what is reuse, and why they are important; to higher level discussions regarding recycling markets, processes, policy and economics.  Topics can be of specific interest as well such as plastics, food waste reduction, or special event waste diversion.

Presentations from the waste reduction and recycling experts at Orange County Solid Waste Management can be brought to your gathering place, or take place at the Orange County Solid Waste Management Administrative Office training room facility. 

Composting Education

According to the US EPA, up to 70% of the municipal solid waste stream is made up of organic material. OCSWM can help businesses, institutions, and individuals "starve the landfill and feed the soil" by composting their organic wastes including yard waste and kitchen scraps.

Compost Demonstration Sites

There are two outdoor composting demonstration sites located in Orange County where you can learn more about outdoor composting and observe in it "in action":

Orange County Solid Waste Management Administrative Office, 1207 Eubanks Rd. Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill Community Center (behind the rose garden) on S. Estes Drive.

Visit the Composting Resources page for more information about home composting.

Compost Bins for Sale
Cost: $50 cash or check only
Orange County Solid Waste Administration
1207 Eubanks Rd. Chapel Hill, 27516
Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00p.m.


Make rich crumbly compost at home with your yard waste, brown leaves, and kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps. To learn more about the "Earth Machine" outdoor composting unit that we sell, visit the Earth Machine Guide to Home Composting.

Recycling Container Loan Program

For small public, or private events of any size, OCSWMD can loan recycling containers, potentially provide drop-off and collection of those containers, and in some cases assist with organizing volunteers. OCSWMD involvement depends on whether the event is public or private, how much notice is given and the type and volume of recyclable material to be collected

Compost Collection at Special Events in Orange County

For small events in Orange County, we can loan small metal food waste collection containers. Please call (919)969-2788 for reservations. First come first served: We have a limited supply, please reserve in advance.

There are two public food waste drop-off sites at the Waste & Recycling Centers located off Walnut Grove Church Rd. and Eubanks Rd. These are available to residents and can accept post-consumer event waste.
This is NOT your backyard compost.  Post-consumer food waste should go to a commercial composting company to be safely made into healthy soil additives.

Special Events

For large public events with information booths, OCSWM can provide information table and recycling collection services-- including organizing volunteers plus providing recycling containers and recycling collection in exchange for free booth space and sponsorship status, and volunteer support. Level of involvement depends on the level of commitment and engagement of event organizers.

Each year, Orange County Government hosts hundreds of meetings and events that serve food. Waste Wise events can keep help 90% or more waste out of landfills.
Please use the tools below to host your own Waste Wise Event:

  • Checklist: A one page guide to streamline your Waste Wise event planning
  • Caterer List: Find local businesses that can cater your event using sustainable practices
  • Sorting Tool: A one page guide to help you sort out what’s recyclable, reusable, and compostable
  • Signs: Clarify waste disposal at your event with these printable signs
  • Talking Points: Explaining your Waste Wise event practices to your meeting’s participants is a critical step. We’ve made public speaking easy with these talking points.

Fork It Over

***Due to COVID-19 the Administrative Offices are CLOSED to the public and the Fork It Over program has been suspended until further notice.

Reduce waste in the first place at your special event by replacing single use disposable utensils with durable, stainless steel forks, spoons and knives, on loan on a first come, first served basis from the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department.  In collaboration with the Community Worx thrift store, we have collected over 200 sets (standard fork, desert fork, standard knife, tea and tablespoons) of utensils to loan-- the patterns don’t match but they are charming, stainless, and carbon-neutral.

Call (919) 968-2788 or email well in advance to schedule your event.  You pick up the clean, sorted and containerized utensils from the Orange County Solid Waste Management office before your event.  You return the clean boxes with washed and sorted utensils ready for the next event.  There is no other cost, the loan program is absolutely free. 

Donations of clean stainless steel utensils in good condition are needed and WELCOME! Stainless steel standard forks, desert forks, standard knives (not steak knives), teaspoons, and tablespoons only, please-- no plastic handled picnic ware.

Donations for Fork It Over can be dropped off at the Orange County Solid Waste Management Department administrative office at 1207 Eubanks Rd. Monday – Friday from 8AM-5PM. The more utensils we collect the more events we can serve.

Landfill Tours

OCSWM can provide tours for classroom size groups and organizations, for 3rd grade and older. Tours last approximately one hour and are free. The Orange County Municipal Solid Waste Landfill and recycling facilities are an excellent educational and public resource. These tours provide experience-based instruction regarding principles of modern landfill technology and anatomy, methane production and capture, hydrology, the economics of waste management, social impacts, waste diversion strategies, and the specifics of the Orange County Solid Waste Management program including regulations, recycling processing and markets, household hazardous waste collection, electronics recycling and much more. 

Waste Assessments

Save operation expenses and disposal costs and simultaneously protect the environment by reducing waste in the first place! Solid Waste Management staff can provide free expert technical support for schools, businesses, civic groups, faith-based organizations and other Orange County entities to determine elements of the waste stream that can be reduced, reused or recycled. Recycling consultation services can also be provided to help ensure the success of an in-house recycling collection program or special events.