Exchange your food scraps for compost: an easy way to help our environment

HOMEWOOD, IL- “I think people will be surprised to see how easy and rewarding composting can be!” says Edie Dobrez, Executive Director of the Homewood Science Center. Composting ones’ food scraps keeps them out of the regular garbage and has a positive effect on the environment. When food scraps and other organic material is mixed in with inorganic material such as plastic, glass, and metal, it leads to greater greenhouse gas emission and increased climate change. Separating out your organic material such as kitchens scraps and yard waste is a small change that can make a big difference.

Homewood Science Center, the Village of Homewood, and University of Illinois Extension Cook County are teaming up on Saturday, July 24 to make collecting food scraps even more rewarding. When you bring your collected scraps to this event, you will be able to take a bucket of finished compost home with you for use in your home garden. “By holding this event, the Village of Homewood is ensuring that the materials removed from the waste stream will be sent to a composting facility,” says Allisa Opyd, Events Manager for Village of Homewood. “It gives our residents the opportunity to close the carbon loop.”

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

Saturday’s Community Compost Collection will take place on July 24 from 9 a.m to noon in the Homewood Village Hall Parking Lot at 2020 N Chestnut Rd. 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 are encouraged to participate in this FREE event. 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. More educational resources will be available on site, and future events around Cook County are in development for the fall.

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 Batka.