Currently in the state of Illinois, if your organization produces lots of food scraps, the most cost-effective removal option is to put them in your trash and pay your waste hauler to bring them to the landfill. But according to EPA, Illinois landfills have only 21 years of capacity, and it is costly to build new ones–in dollars and environmental costs.
A group of more than 100 Illinois businesses, municipalities, county governments, universities and nonprofit organizations wants to address these issues by developing and promoting solutions for affordable, state-wide food scrap composting. Food scrap composting–which turns the material into usable soil nutrients–can take pressure off landfills and extend their life.
The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (www.illinoiscomposts.org) will hold a FREE Food Scrap Composting Challenges and Solutions in Illinois Stakeholder Forum at the Champaign Public Library on September 22 from noon to 4 p.m. The group invites entities that produce food scraps, such as restaurants, hotels, hospitals, colleges and large businesses; large and small waste haulers; commercial compost facilities; and municipalities, government agencies, landscape companies, golf courses and others who use, or have the potential to use, large amounts of finished compost.
“In order for our project to work, we need input from Illinois stakeholders about their experiences and challenges with regard to composting,” says Cassandra Carroll, Executive Director of the Illinois Green Business Association and member of the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition. “Their day-to-day experiences in dealing with food discards will help shape practical solutions for advancing food scrap composting in the state.”
Three other forums are being held across the state. Forums in Central and Southern Illinois will also explore the agricultural aspects of commercial composting. This work is generously sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
Recommendations from the Food Scrap Composting Challenges and Solutions in Illinois Stakeholder Forums will be incorporated into a formal report providing a snapshot of the food scrap activities already underway in Illinois and including recommendations on how to encourage more food scrap diversion from landfills. The report summary will be presented to the Task Force on the Advancement of Materials Recycling, which, in turn, is required to submit a report to the Governor and General Assembly by January 1, 2015.
To register for the forum, visit http://illinoiscomposts.org/forums
The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC) is a group of more than 100 solid waste agencies, county governments, nonprofit organizations and state and federal agencies organized to promote food scrap composting in Illinois. Founding members include representatives from: Seven Generations Ahead, School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE), Solid Waste Association of Northern America (SWANA), Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC), Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), Illinois Counties Solid Waste Management Association (ILCSWMA), Kendall County, DuPage County, Kane County, Cook County, Will County, Loyola University, McHenry County College, Village of Oak Park, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Learn more at www.illinoiscomposts.org