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The Village of Park Forest is encouraging residents to compost food waste to help improve the environment. However, some people may have heard the term 'composting' but may not know what it entails.
Carrie Malfeo, the village's sustainability coordinator, says the goal is to cut down on waste and give back to the environment. The village has partnered with Urban Canopy, a commercial composting company on Chicago's Southside, on the initiative.
Malfeo says residents can subscribe to the bi-weekly service provided by Urban Canopy. They'll receive a 5-gallon composting bucket, and Urban Canopy will pick up the compost every other week.
"You fill it up with food waste, which is not just fruits and veggies scraps," said Malfeo. "It's meat, dairy, bones, bread, takeout leftovers, anything that's food can go in the bucket."
Malfeo adds other items, like a greasy pizza box, can also be thrown into the bucket. She says the goal was to partner with a commercial service that composts waste that goes beyond fruits and vegetables.
Some people may be concerned about the foul smell that will come with composting food waste. However, Malfeo says it is no different than your typical garbage waste.
"This waste is the same as you would have in your garbage can because you're going to be throwing it out anyway; if you didn't have a composting option," Malfeo said. "So it's not going to smell any more or less than anything else, but the five-gallon can is sealed well and if you close the bucket tightly, you are not going to have any problems."
Malfeo says on your designated day, you'll place the bucket where you and Urban Canopy decided it should be picked up, and they'll provide you with a new bucket. Additionally, she says the service is $25 a month and will help the environment.
"There are several benefits of composting," said Malfeo. " Food waste being sent to the landfill is anaerobic. So there's no oxygen in a landfill. Food waste is going to produce methane, which is a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. It's 20 times stronger."
Malfeo says if you are composting your food waste it is being turned into healthy soil. She says this process will turn the food waste into nutrients that will enrich your garden or landscaping, help retain moisture and reduce the need for fertilizers.
Malfeo adds Park Forest isn't the only village trying to encourage residents to help out the environment. She says Homewood and Flossmoor are also making a push for residents to help cut back on food waste going to the landfills by composting.
Lastly, Malfeo says Urban Canopy offers a rewards program to customers who sign up with their program.
Find a detailed list of acceptable compostable items below.