Recycling Tips: 3 Smart Ways To Compost This Fall!

Recycling Tips: 3 Smart Ways To Compost This Fall!

  • 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

Trees are still largely green out there, but we are right around the corner from the great release of foliage from the trees.

All of these fallen leaves make for a great opportunity to start composting in your back yard.

In fact, fall is a great time to start thinking about composting opportunities. Below are three hot tips for folks who want to be good environmental stewards in Kane County this fall.

(1) Get Your Soil Saver Compost Bin!

Just in case you missed the recent compost bin event that we had, I wanted to let you know there are still a few Soil Saver Compost Bins available at:

  • University of Illinois Extension Office, 535 S. Randall Road, St. Charles, IL 60174. Call 630-584-6166 for more info.
  • Cost: $70​ cash or check, payable to the Kane County Treasurer. These bins are made available by Kane County at a discounted cost. (Note: Retail cost is $100 to $125.)

Click here​ for more details and a picture of the bins.

(2) Tip: Save Some Leaves for Next Year

Because a compost pile needs both wet (green) and dry (brown) ingredients, and I compost my kitchen food scraps, which are very wet, I save some dried leaves in brown bags over the winter to be used next spring and summer when dry ingredients are harder to come by.

According to Home Composting Made Easy, stockpiling organic materials for composting is an important strategy in creating a good compost pile.

The Add-as-You-Go method (also called “dump-and-run, cold or passive” composting) is what most people do, but stockpiling a few items, especially leaves, will make even this method a little more successful.

(3) Save The Date! Pumpkin & Squash Recycling Event Nov. 3

Kane County, in conjunction with Pushing the Envelope Farm in Geneva and Northern Illinois Food Bank, are offering a free pumpkin recycling event again this year to help you reduce your waste!

Jack O’Lanterns, pumpkins and decorative squashes are highly compostable and it is a real shame to just send them to a landfill, when the nutrients they contain could instead be returned to soil that will grow more healthy food! See the event flyer here!

  • When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 3
  • Where: Pushing the Envelope Farm, 1700 Averill Road in Geneva.
  • What: We will be accepting pumpkins and squashes for composting right on a farm! It is very important to keep it contaminant-free; just like food scrap composting.

Contaminant-free means no candles, yarn hair, stickers, googly eyes, plastic ears, plastic of any kind. In other words, only the squashes, pumpkins, and gourds themselves can be composted!

Why Compost?

(1) It’s easy!

You can start with just leaves and grass, then work your way towards composting your food scraps.

Food makes up the largest percentage (more than 20 percent) of all municipal solid waste.

In 2011 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated, with only 4 percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting

(2) It benefits your yard.

Compost 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.

(3) It saves money.

If you pay for yard waste collection bags or stickers, composting will cut your costs.

Adding your homemade compost to your garden can reduce or eliminate the need to buy chemical fertilizers or compost.

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