How the Biltmore is turning scraps to sustenance with its new composting program

The program that began in May is already churning out over 25 tons of finished compost.


Kimber and Eli give a breakdown of the composting process.

Photo by AVLtoday

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Food scraps and manure aren’t usually associated with the glamour of the Biltmore Estate. But it’s taken on the challenge of composting at a scale like never before, with America’s biggest home rolling out one of the largest operations in Asheville.

Getting dirty

The facility uses material from several sites on the property to turn waste into an asset. And it happens at rapid speed, with waste being transformed to finished compost in just 22 days.

In just one month, 12,820 pounds of food waste from the estate’s restaurant kitchens + 36,200 pounds of manure from the Equestrian Center and Farmyard were able to produce nearly 25 tons of finished compost. That’s about the weight of a firetruck.

Future plans for the program include collecting consumer waste from visitors (think leftover food on people’s plates). By the end of one year, the facility will be able to process up to 1,200 tons of finished compost. Did you think one firetruck was heavy? One year of the estate’s compost is heavier than 48 firetrucks.


Meet the machine that’s turning trash into treasure.

Photo by AVLtoday

Feeling inspired?

While you may not have 12,820 pounds of food waste lying around, you can still make a difference through composting. The city and county’s joint Food Scraps Drop Off program boasts eight sites where folks can bring their leftover food waste. Since the program’s beginning, 413,165.5 pounds of food scraps have been diverted from the landfill. Register for the program and receive a handy kitchen countertop bin to keep scraps.

If you’re feeling independent, you can start a composting area in your backyard. Consult our guide to composting, and learn how to turn your leftovers into lawn food.

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