Institutions in Illinois, including grocery stores, schools, universities, hospitals, hotels, and high rise buildings are composting food scraps. As food scrap composting becomes more widely available and affordable in Illinois, more and more institutions are setting up systems either on site or by having their food scraps hauled to a commercial composting facility.
If your institution wants to compost food waste, find out how the waste is currently handled and determine how much waste you have. Determine whether you are going to take just pre-consumer food waste or both pre and post-consumer food waste. You will need to discuss the collection process in depth with the operations and facilities managers.
Food service businesses and institutions have several options depending on feasibility and specific restraints.
- ON-SITE COMPOST PROGRAM: If land is available, you may compost the food waste on-site in rows or bins.
- COMMERCIAL COMPOST FACILITY: If minimal space is available, commercial composting is an option that requires only a little attention and labor. In this case, food waste is sent to either a central compost facility or to a local farmer.
Who Takes Food Waste for Composting and Who Can I Contact?
- Commercial compost facilities licensed to accept food scraps.
- Local farmers may be interested in taking food waste for compost.
- Home gardeners may have the capability to take certain quantities of food waste for compost.
- Local nurseries may be interested in making their own compost from food waste stock.
- Local landscapers may be interested in making their own compost from food waste stock.
- Hog producers may want to use cooked food waste as an animal feed or as a feed supplement.
What Is the Future in Composting?
As landfill space and openings decrease, there is increasing pressure to compost food waste along with all organic waste. Laws already exist in many states that require counties to compost. Oregon and Washington are developing laws that will require all businesses to compost all of their organic waste including food waste. As agricultural practices continue to exhaust soils and deplete organic matter, compost will be integral in maintaining soil fertility. Landscape, nursery, public agency and homeowner demand for high quality compost continues to increase. Compost is an essential product in increasing amounts of land reclamation projects. Compost also plays an important role in more environmentally regulated and environmentally aware agricultural systems. For many livestock, poultry, and sustainable and alternative agriculture operations, compost and composting may be the best choice as well as opportunity for added income.
For schools and universities
- Seven Generations Ahead
- Campus Sustainability Webinar Series IGEN and SGA have created a two-part webinar series on campus sustainability geared towards Illinois colleges and universities. Webinars take place on April 26 & may 22.
- Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County
- Green Lunchroom Challenge
- Individual county recycling educators
- Chicago Public Schools Composting Cohort
For other institutions
Which Illinois Institutions are Composting food Scraps?
- Euclid Avenue Methodist Church
- The Field Museum
- Glenwood Sunday Farmers Market
- John G. Shedd Aquarium
- Northern Illinois Food Bank
- Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry
- Rush Oak Park Hospital
- St. Matthews Episcopal Church
- The Refrectory Lutheran School of Theology
Schools and universities
- Alcuin Montessori School
- Chicago Public Schools composting cohort (need current list)
- District 45 in Villa Park: Jackson Middle School in Villa Park
- District 97 Schools: Beye, Brooks, Hatch, Holmes, Irving, Lincoln, Longfellow, Mann, Whittier
- Dominican University
- The Joseph Sears School, Kenilworth
- Loyola University Chicago
- Oak Park and River Forest High School
- Owen Elementary School in Naperville
- University of Illinois at Chicago
- University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana
- Bright Beat
- Jewel-Osco stores
- Rush Oak Park Hospital