- Highland Park, IL will offer curbside recycling of mixed organic waste starting in April 2016. The Chicago suburb is the second city in the state to offer organics collection, after Oak Park introduced its CompostAble program more than three years ago.
Highland Park awarded independent waste and recycling company Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) an exclusive six-year commercial and residential contract that starts Jan. 1. Karen Brunetti, assistant to the city manager, says the program is one of 90 sustainability goals laid out in the city’s 2010 strategic plan.
The opt-in, three-bin system allows food waste to be commingled with yard waste April 1 to Dec. 15. The yard waste collection fee is currently $236; with LRS, the rate will be $225, including the food waste collection. Or a resident who doesn't want to subscribe can put out food scraps and attach a $2.45 sticker.
Managing Partner Joshua B. Connell said LRS will give all participating residents a 35-, 65- or 95-gallon plastic cart and will give them tips, such as encouraging putting the waste in brown kraft bags or biodegradable bags to discourage smells.
Brunetti says a 2014 survey in the city of 9,000 residents showed that more than half would be interested in collecting and composting food scraps if the cost weren’t too high. "There's a lot of focus and education on preventing waste from going to the landfill," she said. "Every tiny step that we make is hopefully going to, in the long term, have an impact."
In suburban Oak Park, an average of 2,300 pounds of organics are diverted from the waste stream per week by program participants.