Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson Announces New Composting Initiatives

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Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Monday that the city’s Street Sanitation Department will implement its first citywide composting program, allowing residents to drop off their household food scraps for free at one of 15 locations.

Composting diverts organic waste from landfills. In landfills, it decomposes and releases harmful greenhouse gases. This effort could be just what the city of Chicago needs to increase its dismal recycling rate of 9.6% in 2022 and an average of 10% per year as of August 2023.

The City of Minneapolis reported that it diverted more than 35% of its municipal waste from landfills in 2022. More than 19% of his diverted waste was recycled and more than 16% was composted. These numbers show promising prospects for Chicago’s new efforts.

Residents who wish to participate in the program can register online at a drop-off location near their home, collect their organic waste in a sealed container (even if it’s a compostable bag or a paper bag). These should be collected without bags and taken to the bin. The Green Cart will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

We accept all types of food waste, including meat and fish, bones and egg shells, dairy products such as cheese and yogurt, fruit and vegetable scraps, leftovers, coffee grounds and tea leaves. The city has a complete list of items accepted at drop-off locations on its website or at Chicagorecycles.org.

The collected organic waste will be transported to the Harborview Composting Facility in South Deering, operated by Whole Earth Compost, and processed into compost. Experts say food waste will have a new lease on life as a valuable product that looks and smells like rich soil and can be used to improve soil health.

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In a recent interview with the Tribune, DSS Deputy Director of Recycling Chris Sauve said the city’s next step to improving waste diversion rates is to develop a robust organics collection system. Ta. The city recently introduced a pilot program that allows residents to bring certain organic waste to six community gardens.

The 15 new drop-off locations are:

  • 11059 S. Homewood Ave., Morgan Park
  • 611 W. 69th St. in Inglewood.
  • 1756 W. 74th St., West Englewood
  • 3720 W. 55th St., West Elsdon
  • 4352 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Grand Blvd.
  • 3359 S. Maplewood Ave., Brighton Park
  • 1758 S. Clark St. Near Southside
  • 1944 W. Cullerton Street on the Lower West Side
  • 2505 W. Grand Ave. in Westtown.
  • 2460 W Cortland St., Logan Square
  • 5605 W. Grand Ave., Belmont Craigin
  • 3143 N. Rockwell St., Avondale
  • 5333 N. Western Ave., Bowmanville
  • 4605 W. Lawrence Ave., Irving Park
  • 6453 W. Higgins Ave., Norwood Park

“Diverting food waste into composting is one of the simplest and most effective ways for individuals and cities to address the climate crisis,” Johnson said in a news release. “Providing composting options to all Chicago residents reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions that occur when organic food materials decompose in landfills, returns organic materials to the earth, and And most importantly, we can build healthier communities across this great city.”

California organic waste reduction site.

The announcement comes after Mr Johnson presented his first budget last week, which seeks to fulfill a campaign promise to rebuild the city’s long-closed Department of the Environment. It will cost $1.8 million and employ 14 people. That’s far less than the $3.5 million budget that funded the department when it was shut down by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011.

After Emanuel dissolved the department, its responsibilities were passed on to other city agencies, including the Department of Public Health, Department of Family and Support Services, and Department of Water Management. The former mayor then appointed a sustainability director, a move criticized by some activists who argued that one person could not handle the entire department’s work.

AD Quig of the Chicago Tribune contributed.

adperez@chicagotribune.com



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