Food Scrap Composting in Kane County
Food makes up the largest percentage (over 20%) of all municipal solid waste. In 2011 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated, with only four percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting.
Commercial Food Scrap Composting
While there are a growing number of municipal residential food scrap collection programs across the U.S. (approx. 350 communities) many regions are initially focusing on large-volume commercial sources for this material. Businesses (larger food scrap producers like groceries, restaurants, etc) are a logical place to start to build the infrastructure for a voluntary program.
There are several locations in Kane County already participating. To see the map of locations in Kane County that are composting, see here. These locations are mainly Jewel-Osco stores. DuPage County has achieved such success by concentrating on the commercial sector targeting the big producers and increasing route density for the haulers.
Residential Food Scrap Composting
On the residential side, there are 23 curbside collection programs for food scrap in the region and a new "ride-along" food scrap composting program started in the Mill Creek SSA in mid-May of 2017. See the brochure, and the Mill Creek webpage for more information.
If you know of additional locations that are composting food scraps, contact your Kane County Recycling Coordinator, at 630-208-3841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illinois Food Scrap Coalition
Your Kane County Recycling Coordinator is a member of the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition, an organization made up of solid waste agencies, counties, and community and government organizations dedicated to advancing food scrap composting in Illinois. Please see more on the work this group is doing, at illinoiscomposts.org.
On State Legislation
Public Act 96-0418 (effective 1/1/2010) was passed by the Illinois legislature in 2009, making it possible to add food scrap to a yardwaste composting operation in Illinois without going through the state's lengthy and expensive siting process, provided that the food scraps constitute no more than 10% of the total volume handled at the facility. To date 10 of the 45 active compost facilities in Illinois are now permitted to accept food scrap along with yard waste.
Public Act 98-0239 (effective 8/9/2013) opened up new opportunities for farmers in urban and suburban areas to bring in material from off site for composting and also for community gardens to compost.
Public Act 98-0146 (effective 1/1/2014) allowed two landscape-waste transfer stations to pilot food scraps collection in combination with yard waste. The two test sites are: Midwest Compost in Barlett & Waste Management in Stickney. These pilots, which were extended in 2015, aim to show that this method of material collection, transfer, and processing can be done well and successfully so that we have a new avenue for food scraps. The law does not have any tonnage limitations, but the processors will proceed with care and sustainable materials management. The statute allows leeway for the sites to develop the best practice models as they go.
Public Act 99-0011 (effective 7/10/2015) allows for community groups or local governments to register to conduct one-day collection events for organic materials such as food scraps or pumpkin composting after Halloween, rather than going through the overly stringent permitting process formerly required.