Collective Resource Compost began when Founder/Owner Erlene Howard became interested in composting but couldn’t find a good place to do it at her condo, with no outdoor space and no desire to have worms as roommates, especially since eating pineapple kills them. She was inspired to start a composting service when she realized that, if composting were made more convenient, more people would do it. The company began with three customers, using Erlene’s Toyota Camry for pickups. As celebrated in a recent post on their Facebook page, that was ten years ago this month, as they began providing food scrap hauling services on June 16, 2010. After their first ten months, they graduated to a cargo van named Flora, and now have seven cargo vans and a box truck named Nightcrawler. Since their humble beginnings as a small business driven by a personal passion for waste diversion, the company’s customer base has grown to over 2200 residential and nearly 300 (pre-COVI-19) commercial customers in a service area of over 50 communities. They report having diverted 6650 tons of organic material from the landfill–equivalent to 3/5ths of the Eiffel Tower, 1000 elephants, or 97 million carrots like the one featured in their logo!

In September 2010, they facilitated their first two zero waste events in Evanston on the same day: Evanston’s Green Living Festival at Evanston Ecology Center and a pancake breakfast at Dewey Elementary School. They continue to grow this area of their business with events ranging from small, one bucket unstaffed family gatherings to multi-vendor outdoor festivals with CRC staff educating at multiple Orange handled bucket labeled as a Collective Resource Compost branded collection binwaste stations.

In November 2017, CRC entered into a municipal franchise agreement with the City of Evanston. They supported Evanston’s rollout of two great composting options, including a reduced price for their container swap-out service, by educating the public on both programs. In January 2020, CRC also became the exclusive compost partner for the Village of Skokie.

CRC now also offers a Neighbor Totes program, which enables several households to compost communally by sharing a 32-gallon tote. Each tote can accommodate the food scraps for approximately 24 people in a week. The program works well for multi-unit buildings but could also be hosted at a house, or house of worship.

Neighbor Totes logo next to a green, lined 32-gallon toteIn addition to being IFSC members and a Silver Sustaining Partner, CRC is actively involved in IFSC programs. Founder/Owner Erlene Howard serves on the IFSC Board of Directors and brings her unique perspective of owning and running what she calls “the biggest of the small haulers,” and recently provided the “Speaker Spotlight” during an IFSC general body meeting. Longtime employee and Zero Waste Consultant Mary Beth Schaye serves as chair of the IFSC We Compost recognition program committee, which recognizes the composting efforts of businesses and organizations. IFSC appreciates these contributions to the organization, as well as to the expansion of food scrap composting infrastructure in our state. IFSC looks forward to continued collaboration with Collective Resource Compost.

Contact Collective Resource Compost
Phone: 847-733-7665
Email: Website: