why compost?

Studies show that food waste makes up over 20% of municipal waste.  Once in a landfill, food waste produces large amounts of methane -- a "greenhouse gas" even greater than CO2--contributing to the problem of climate change.  Our Food-to-Farm Collection program helps organizations and individuals seeking to reduce their food waste to actively participate in creating a local, healthy, sustainable food economy, while also impacting our global environment.

Composting helps reduce:

  • Methane gases from landfills (which contribute to climate change)
  • Leachate from landfills (which pollute soil and groundwater)
  • Carbon emissions (required to transport food/organic waste to landfills)
  • Stress on our sewer systems and the amount of chemicals needed to keep our municipal water systems clean, by helping the land and soil be permeable and able to absorb rainwater (hard, desiccated soil results in run-off). 
  • Compost helps trees and plants grow so they can sequester carbon and helps soil recover and stay arable for growing healthy food. 


Composting 101

Check out this great, family-friendly  video on composting.

Commercial Composting


Resource Center’s Food-to-Farm compost collection service helps our commercial customers reduce waste and participate in the mission of environmental sustainability.  Chicago generates over 2,000 tons of food waste every day. We turn this “waste” into nutrient-packed compost, ideal for growing healthy produce. 

We collect food waste from restaurants, food service providers, universities, and other entities that are committed to contributing to agricultural sustainability and supporting a strong local food system.  Click here to inquire about Commercial Compost Collection.


Residential Composting 


Our residential composting program is offered on a voluntary, subscription basis.  Households pay an annual fee to get access to a Resource Center compost bin with a combination lock.  Once your fee is paid, we provide you with a lockbox code for the bin nearest you.  You then can put your yard waste, food scraps and organic matter into it as-needed.  We empty the bins on a regular basis, however, if the bin is 3/4 full prior to pick-up participating residents can make a courtesy call or e-mail for earlier pick-up. 

Currently, we have a number of Bins in the Hyde Park area.  Click here to see our locations.

Don't see a bin near you?  E-mail us to let us know of your interest or the interest of your building or block to see if Resource Center can create a new location for your participation.

Acceptable Materials

  • Food Scraps, spoiled food, including meat, poultry, seafood, shells, bones, eggs, fats, cooking oils, breads, grains, cereals, vegetables, table scraps, dairy, coffee grounds and pasta
  • Paper products, such as compostable salad containers, paper towels, paper bags, napkins, paper coffee filters, paper cups, cotton, pizza boxes and compostable food packaging. (Paper and newspaper, dairy cartons etc. should ideally be recycled. If
  • they are made of paper and soiled with food and cannot be recycled, then OK to compost.)
  • Incidental yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings, garden vegetation, branches, flowers, brush and mulch that can fit in Bin (for households with larger yards, please arrange with Ken Dunn for a 2-4 cubic yard metal bin during the Fall)
  • Pet waste (dog poop, kitty litter, bird poop, etc. so long as directly deposited into Bin or placed in a compostable bag first)
  • Compostable bags that meet ASTM 6400 or ASTM 6868 standards


Items NOT Accepted

  • Plastic bags or food containers that do not meet ASTM 6400 & 6868 compostable
  • standards (such as most yogurt containers)
  • Plastic packaging, bags and serving ware such as plates, cups and utensils
  • Diapers or sanitary products with any plastic liners or plastic materials
  • Dairy cartons
  • PLU# stickers on vegetables and fruit (if you forget to remove, it is OK)
  • Twist-ties on produce
  • Glass, Styrofoam, metals, oil
  • Lumber that has been treated
  • Unsoiled paper and newspaper and dairy cartons etc. should be recycled

Click here to read more details about our program.  



Ready to join the mission to reduce your carbon footprint and be a part of a local, sustainable food economy?  Sign up to be a Chicago Compost Champion.