RALEIGH, N.C. — The Poe Center for Health Education in Raleigh is a go-to destination for schools across the state. But since the pandemic, it’s been empty. 

“During normal times, it is hard to tell now because the building is so quiet, under normal times, we have about 20,000 visitors here a year,” said nutrition director Rachel Pohlman.

Early in 2020, the team applied for and received a Commercial Waste Reduction Grant from Wake County. 

“I’ve been here for over five years now, and just slowly making changes to make things more sustainable, environmentally friendly, reducing waste at Poe,” Pohlman said.

A large portion of the grant was spent on composting containers and creating an attainable composting system at the center. 

The effort can be seen at almost every turn, from paper towel collection to the compostable eating and drinking utensils. 

“When the Wake County landfill is full, that’s going to be the last one in Wake County,” Pohlman said. “After that, we are going to have to start trucking our garbage to other counties which will be much more expensive.”

The center teaches kids how to have a healthy lifestyle, so it’s not a stretch for the staff to extend the message on how to also have healthy habits when it comes to trash. 

“It’s part of the big picture of taking care of ourselves and it’s also taking care of the world around you,” Pohlman said.

Completed applications for 2021 grants must be entered by Friday, November 6th.