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COOK COUNTY- “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.”

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 a variety of community organizations throughout Chicagoland to host Community Compost Collection events in 2021. 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 garden soil.

Events are currently scheduled for

Help us reach our goal of collecting 5 tons of compostable material at each event. Bring your grass clippings, leaves, landscape waste, and kitchen scraps: eggshells, vegetable skins, and stems are welcome but please no products containing oil, dressings, dairy, meat or bones. No branches over 2” in diameter. These events are BYOB— Bring Your Own Bucket to take home finished compost.

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

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.

“Composting can be done on a community level through events or municipal waste collection, but it can also be done on a small scale, Pereira says. “You can compost in your own backyard using a compost bin or even in your apartment with a worm bin.”

To learn more about composting, visit

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