Food Scrap Composting in Kane County
Food makes up the largest percentage (over 20%) of all residential trash. In 2011 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste were generated, with only four percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting.
Residential Food Scrap Composting
On the residential side, there are over 60 curbside collection programs for food scrap in the region. In Kane County, the following communities have residential curbside food scrap composting services. The most common model is called a "ride-along" program because the food scraps ride along with the yard waste to the composting facilities. See here for a great info sheet on the ride-along program guidelines. Some programs, like the one in Elgin, are subscription-based programs for separate residential collection of organic waste.
Mill Creek SSA
City of Batavia
City of Elgin
City of Geneva
City of St. Charles
Village of Elburn
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.
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. DuPage County has achieved such success by concentrating on the commercial sector targeting the big producers and increasing route density for the haulers.
Illinois Food Scrap Coalition
Your Kane County Recycling Coordinator is Chairman of the Board of the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition, a thriving not-for-profit organization made up of community and government organizations, businesses, schools, institutions, service proividers and processors throughout the state that are dedicated to advancing food scrap composting in Illinois through program implementation, policy, and advocacy. 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.
For a full list, see the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition's list HERE.