PARK FOREST, IL- “With 40% of food being wasted each year, we want provide our residents opportunities to reduce food waste and divert it from landfills,” explains Carrie Malfeo, Sustainability Coordinator for the Village of Park Forest. “This event will encourage businesses and residents to participate in a personal food waste audit, learn about the harmful impacts of methane gas produced by organic waste in landfills and the benefits of returning food scraps to the earth.”

 “These community compost collection events are a way to make composting accessible for all” adds Nancy Kreith, Extension Horticulture Educator for Cook County. “Not everyone has a time or space to compost at home, so we’re excited to provide this alternative. At the event we will also demonstrate various home composting techniques such as using a worm bin indoors. Worm bins, or vermiculture, requires less time and space and is a good entry point for someone just getting started with composting.”

To keep compostable material such as yard waste and kitchen scraps out of the landfill, University of Illinois Extension in Cook County is partnering with the Village of Park Forest to host a Community Compost Collection on June 26 from 7 a.m to noon. Households are invited to drop off their yard, garden, and kitchen waste to be composted and pick up finished compost to use to improve your soil. Help us reach our goal of collecting 5 tons of compostable material and enter a drawing to win a home composting bin.

Accepted materials: grass clippings, leaves, landscape waste, and kitchen scraps such as eggshells, vegetable skins and stems.

Not accepted materials: branches over 2” diameter, products containing oil, dressings, dairy, produce stickers, meat and bones.

Social distancing and face coverings required to participate in these FREE events. Finished compost and other free surprise giveaways are first come first served.

“By diverting organic waste materials from landfills and recycling it into compost we protect our environment by reducing the amount of methane gas released in to the air,” says Kathryn Pereira, Extension Local Food Systems and Small Farms Educator for Cook County. “Food scraps, leaves, and grass clippings can be transformed into compost, a valuable resource used to enrich our soils.”

For those who cannot attend the event, composting may still be an option through their local trash provider, private service, or by starting a compost pile. Our fourth event in the series will be held July 24 in Homewood.

To learn more, download Composting 101, in English or Spanish.

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

If you have questions about our Community Compost Collection events, please contact Sarah at 217-300-8636 or sbatka@illinois.edu.