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Forget food waste, Chicagoland learns about the power of composting

Woman wearing an orange shirt carries a white pumpkin and pulls a cart with more pumpkins

URBANA, Ill. — Through its “Creating a Culture of Composting in Greater Chicagoland” initiative, University of Illinois Extension in Cook County is committed to making composting as second-nature as recycling has become in the communities it serves. This publication describes the multifaceted programs - such as Pumpkin Smashes, composting summit, and food waste audits - the team has created to spread the word about composting among residents, businesses, and community leaders in the Chicago area.

Up to 40% of the food supply in the United States goes into the landfill every year. All of it is a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas considerably more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. Diverting this food from the garbage to a compost pile or bin can make a significant difference in the fight against climate change. Since 2020, the Chicago area Extension program has prevented the equivalent of 22 tons of CO2 release, the equivalent of removing five passenger vehicles from the road annually. 

A publication about the project is available through the Extension Foundation library and the New Technologies for Ag Extension 2022-2023 Yearbook, an 83-page magazine, which shares how these grant projects improve human, environmental, and community health. This collection of publications shares project work funded through the New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) program, a cooperative agreement between USDA NIFA, Oklahoma State University, and the Extension Foundation. NTAE's goal is to incubate, accelerate, and expand promising work that will increase the impact of the Cooperative Extension System in the communities it serves, and provide models that can be adopted or adapted by Extension teams across the nation.

Read the full publication from Extension Foundation



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. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.