- Food scrap collection will become mandatory in Highwood, IL in May 2017 and voluntary compost programs will soon be offered in many nearby Chicago suburbs. "We're going to be trend setters, I like to think," said Adrian Marquez, assistant to the Highwood city manager, to the Daily Herald. "We know this is going to be a big test."
- DuPage, Will, Cook, and Kane Counties are promoting food composting as municipal hauling contracts come up for bid or are renegotiated. Starting Apr. 1 in nearby Grayslake, residents will be able to register for a free, year-round drop off for mixed food scraps and yard waste. Naperville started composting last summer and Barrington will have 95-gallon compost carts picked up beginning March 18. Oak Park, which ran a pilot in April 2012 for mixed food scraps and yard waste, expanded the program throughout the village in 2013 to include homes, churches, and park districts.
- Government officials think the move to pump composting will help address a longtime problem; insufficient composting options, despite the state's allowance of food scrap recycling since 2010.
Organic material such as food scraps comprises most municipal solid waste dumped in landfills and fed into incinerators in the U.S., with residents throwing out 40% of their food — translating to 35 million tons in 2013 alone, according to the EPA. Meanwhile that agency, the USDA, and other stakeholders are pushing a food waste reduction goal of 50% by 2030. Accomplishing the goal would conserve water, gas, energy, and significantly cut methane emissions from landfills.
Even children in Illinois are being brought into the picture to try and change carbon footprint moving forward and to empower others to join the push. Carol Stream Elementary expanded a trial collection program that will be taken to three more schools with students encouraged to teach their parents about food scrap recycling.
"These parents are going to be ready when their (waste hauling) contract is up and it comes to their town," said Kay McKeen, founder of the Glen Ellyn-based School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education program, to the Daily Herald.