Composting Food Scraps Is Next Big Trend in Waste Minimization

Composting Food Scraps Is Next Big Trend in Waste Minimization

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of recycling tips from Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

Last Saturday (April 21), Mill Creek residents took advantage of a compost giveaway organized by the county in partnership with Advanced Disposal and Compost Supply.

Mill Creek residents have been composting food scraps in their yard waste carts since May 2017. Advanced Disposal collects the mixed organic waste material and delivers it to Compost Supply, a permitted composting facility.

More than 40 residents came to help themselves to the nutrient rich soil amendment (aka compost) that resulted from the food scrap composting program. Additionally, several residents learned about the curbside food scrap program for the first time and expressed intention to participate.

This pilot program in Mill Creek serves as a starting point in Kane County, with hopes that the trend will spread to other communities in the near future.

But there’s no reason you can’t get started right away by composting in your own back yard.

Composting your food scraps is important for many reasons. It keeps the nutrients in the soil cycle rather than landfilled, thereby reducing methane production and benefiting your garden, and it can save you money.

Food Scraps – Keep Them OUT of Landfills!

Food scraps and yard waste make up the largest portion of the waste stream.

Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills, where they take up precious space and release methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.

Backyard Composting – It’s Easy And Smart

Adding compost to your garden improves soil structure and texture, increases the soil’s ability to hold both water and air, improves soil fertility, and stimulates healthy root development in plants.

And it is easier than you think to compost in your own back yard.

Compost bins are helpful in maintaining a clean and productive compost pile. Just add an equal amount of dry ingredients (like leaves and twigs, egg shells, sawdust, straw, soiled paper towels) and wet ingredients (veggie scraps, grass clippings, tea bags, coffee grounds) and stir it once a week or so. If you stir it and add the dry materials, it won’t smell … like anything other than rich soil.

You can save money by adding your homemade compost to your garden in order to reduce or eliminate the need to buy chemical fertilizers or compost. If you pay for yard waste collection bags or stickers, composting will cut your costs there, as well.

Here is a link to a simple Backyard Composting Guide produced by the USEPA which affirms that it is easy to “make compost with landscape trimmings and food scraps in your own back yard. With a small investment in time, you can improve the health and appearance of your yard, save money on fertilizers and mulch, all while preserving natural resources and protecting the health of your family and pets.”

Compost Bins For Sale – At a Fraction of Retail Cost!

Kane County makes Soil Saver Compost Bins available to residents at a discounted cost of just $70. (Retail price is around $100.)

These bins, made of recycled plastic and built to last 20+ years, are available at the University of Illinois Extension Office, 535 S. Randall Road in St. Charles.

Call 630-584-6166 for more info on how to get one of these top-notch compost bins.