The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC) celebrates the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC), a Silver Sustaining Partner since 2016 and IFSC founding member. Take a moment to learn about SWANCC.
SWANCC is a non-profit intergovernmental agency established in 1988 which provides its 23 member communities with various waste reduction and recycling resources, as well as guidance related to composting. The Agency has many achievements with regard to food scrap diversion, including the establishment in 2010 of the first ride-along composting program in partnership with the Village of Barrington and Groot Industries. Today eight member communities offer residential curbside food scrap collection programs. SWANCC has sponsored many compost-related training events. For example, in 2012 and 2013, staff built a composting bin system at its transfer station to hold workshops for residents to learn how to compost in their backyards, and developed a video and resources that are posted on the Agency’s website.
Nine member communities offer one-day pumpkin collections after Halloween. SWANCC also works with schools and municipalities to conduct waste audits, with the resulting data informing the identification and implementation of new waste prevention and recovery measures. Food recovery comes before composting, when possible.
SWANCC’s Executive Director, Dave Van Vooren, and Recycling and Education Director, Mary S. Allen, are active members of IFSC. Dave has served on the IFSC Board of Directors as Treasurer (stepping down in 2020), and as a member of the policy committee. Mary served was the original “conductor” of IFSC member calls and has served on the education and projects committee. Both actively present at conferences and seminars, as well as contribute to the IFSC’s website resources and documents. SWANCC also participates in the Wasted Food Action Alliance (WFAA), and Mary was part of the WFAA working group which recently launched the Food Waste Reduction Toolkit for Illinois Schools.
As composting awareness and demand increases in Illinois, SWANCC is committed to continuing to work on strengthening the infrastructure of composting organics, advocating for policy changes where needed, and educating others to be part of this sustainable solution. The IFSC appreciates these contributions and looks forward to continued partnership efforts with SWANCC.