City Cast

Urban Almanac: Composting 101

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on June 5
A man in blue jeans and a black coat waters his plants in terra cotta pots from a large yellow bucket on his Chicago deck on a cloudy day.

Scott Rappe on his Chicago deck where he keeps composting containers in 2011. (Phil Velasquez / Tribune / Getty)

Ready to dive into composting? WasteNot Compost, a local composting service, gave Hey Chicago the rundown.

What’s composting?

It's when that organic material is put back into the soil as a natural fertilizer.

Why compost?

When food and plants are lumped in with other landfill materials, they rot and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

How can you compost?

A lot of ways.

🪱 Vermicomposting, aka small worm bins

🌿 Outdoors with a compost bin or pile

♻️ Collection services and drop-off sites

While the city doesn’t yet offer a composting service, it does collect yard waste from 311 calls. Just don’t put it out on the same day as your trash otherwise that too can get sent to landfill.

But Chicagoans do have other options.

👉 Pickup services like Block Bins and WasteNot Compost

👉 Drop-offs at The Plant in Back of the Yards and El Paseo Garden in Pilsen.

We’re just scratching the surface about how to compost — learn more!

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