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The original item was published from 9/18/2023 2:59:00 PM to 10/9/2023 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: August 8, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Composting Up, Landfill Waste Down

Skokie refuse crew member emptying a cart

Skokie makes progress towards Environmental Sustainability Plan waste reduction goals

Skokie community members have collectively diverted 86 tons (172,000 pounds) of methane-producing food scraps from the landfill so far in 2023, making important progress towards the Village’s Environmental Sustainability Plan goal of decreasing landfill waste.  

Adopted in 2022, the Village’s Environmental Sustainability Plan calls for Skokie to reduce landfill waste by 10 percent by 2030. To help achieve that goal, the Village:

  • Launched a free food scrap drop-off program in February, offering free locations throughout Skokie where residents can deposit food scraps, and sponsored a 15 percent discount for new customers who sign up for the Collective Resource Compost curbside collection program
     
  • Transitioned to once-a-week refuse collection in May after holding a series of public listening sessions and conducting a Village study that found that twice-a-week collection was not needed by a significant majority of residents, was an anomaly among nearby communities, and contributed to increased noise and air pollution and street damage

Since the start of these initiatives, monthly refuse tonnage has trended downward while composting tonnage has increased. In July alone, community members diverted 20.5 tons of food waste – the highest monthly total ever for Skokie – through the Village’s composting programs in partnership with Collective Resource Compost.

Although there are a variety of factors that may impact waste data, including economic conditions, weather, and demographic changes, the Village’s Public Works Department reports that in July 2023, Skokie generated the lowest amount of landfill waste ever for the month of July dating back to 1994, as far as records are available. The Village also reduced diesel fuel usage by more than 2,000 gallons from May through July due to the transition.

Composting

To help make composting easy and accessible for all community members, the Village has launched an additional free food scrap drop-off site at the Skokie Park District’s Weber Center, 9300 Weber Park Pl., expanding the Village’s free drop-off program to nine locations.

The Village offers three easy ways to compost:

  • Drop off food scraps for composting at one of the nine free locations throughout Skokie. Watch the Village’s Compost Step-by-Step video to get started.
  • Sign up for the Collective Resource Compost curbside program. The Village has sponsored a 15 percent discount for new Skokie customers. More than 340 Skokie customers are enrolled.
  • Do your own backyard composting. The Village provides a $25 rebate (PDF) for purchases of approved, above-ground compost bins.

In addition to saving space in your refuse cart and removing food waste that can attract pests, composting helps the environment by reducing harmful greenhouse emissions emanating from landfills. When organic materials decompose in landfills, it creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is 28 to 36 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Compost is also used to enrich soil and promote healthy plant growth.

Recycling and Refuse Collection

Following the Village’s transition to once-a-week refuse collection, some residents have expressed an interest in receiving a second recycling or refuse cart to meet their household’s needs. The Village now offers the following options:

  • Larger recycling carts are available for households that consistently need additional capacity and are recycling properly. Households that only occasionally need extra recycling space are encouraged to place extra recyclables in a cardboard box and place it next to their recycling cart by 7 a.m. on their scheduled pickup day.
     
  • Second refuse carts are now available for households that can demonstrate they are already recycling and composting, but still need additional capacity. Public Works staff are available to advise households on ways to reduce landfill waste.

Households that meet the criteria outlined above and would like to request a second recycling and/or refuse cart should submit an online request or call Public Works at 847-933-8427.

The Village’s Public Works Department will continue to monitor refuse and recycling capacity levels throughout the Village and will work with individual households to resolve any issues.

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