Organics Collection Pilot Program
Organic items, such as kitchen scraps and yard debris, make up a considerable amount of a household's waste, amounting to, by most estimates more than 20-30 percent of the solid waste stream.
Village programs exist to collect leaves, brush, and yard debris like garden trimmings and grass clippings, but food waste has not been included in any organics collection scheme to date. Kitchen scraps, if not composted at home or put down the garbage disposal, end up going to the landfill, where they decompose inefficiently and produce methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, far worse than carbon dioxide.
The Village of Shorewood is testing another approach, providing a separate cart for organics collection as an added service option for a fee. To begin testing the feasibility of this service offering for Shorewood, the Village will run a 12-month pilot program available to 100 interested residents occupying 1-, 2-, and 3-family dwellings.
What are the benefits of this type of service?The curbside collection of organic items in a separate cart for commercial composting offers many compelling benefits.
- Reduce waste sent to the landfill. As kitchen scraps and other organics represent nearly a third of household waste, separating items for compost reduces the landfill burden considerably.
- Promote healthy soils. Compost is a wonderful, nutrient-rich soil amendment that, unlike fertilizer, builds soil structure for long-term productivity.
- More items kept out of trash. Commercial composting allows more things to be easily composted than if you are composting in your backyard: primarily meat scraps, dairy products, bread and bakery items, and spoiled leftovers.
- Convenience. Items like grass clippings and garden trimmings that typically need to be bagged can, with this system, be rolled to the curb for efficient collection.
What does this service cost?There is a separate $12.75 per month service fee for those who choose to have this additional collection service. This will be billed directly to participants by the collection vendor. Participants will be automatically pre-billed on a quarterly basis.
What will I receive?
- A rodent proof 32-gallon cart featuring a locking lid, with collection service provided by Compost Crusader and processing by Blue Ribbon Organics (weekly service April-November; biweekly service December-March).
- Cart provided at no cost to program participants from the Department of Public Works.
- Full list of compostable items to include in the organics cart.
- A Welcome Starter Kit including a kitchen caddy and an initial supply of compostable “plastic” bags.
How do I apply for the pilot program?The Village is accepting applications for the program from March 2 through April 14. Residents can either fill out an online application and email it to Assistant Village Manager Tyler Burkart at email@example.com or they can complete a printed copy of the application and mail it to Village Hall at 3930 N. Murray Avenue. Links to application can be found directly below.
Organics Collection Pilot Program Registration Form (online version)
Organics Collection Pilot Program Registration Form (printable version)
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat are the benefits to having my compostable items collected? Isn't it better to do this in my own back yard?
While grasscycling and home composting are great options for many residents, some are unable to compost on their own property due to lack of time, space, or wherewithal. This service aims to assist those residents who still wish to divert their organic material from the landfill. In addition, some residents who do backyard composting will still want to participate in the Village program because commercial composting allows for the collection of items that are more difficult to handle in a smaller, home system, and because those who do not currently compost during the winter can now have the service year round. Commercial composting, like the program Shorewood is studying, also allows the collection of some items that are more difficult to handle in a smaller, home system.
Why is this study being done?
The Vision 2025 Sustainability Action Plan adopted by the Village set the goal to reduce waste in the Village by 25 percent before the year 2025. Prior to that, the 2012 Sustainability Implementation Plan called for the investigation of municipal compost solutions for Shorewood. The Village is also looking for ways to improve our landfill diversion rate, which has been stuck at about 32 percent for several years.
What happens to the compost that is being made from the organics collected?
Compost Crusader, the contracted hauler, will tip the material at Blue Ribbon Organics in Caledonia. There, the facility processes the material for 4-6 months. Finally, it is screened and sold as finished compost to landscapers and home gardeners. The compost is sold in bulk as well as locally in some stores.
Why does this service cost money?
Collecting and transporting material, whether it is garbage, recyclables, or organics, costs a significant amount of money. Also, while it is cheaper to "tip" or take materials to a composting facility for processing as opposed to landfilling, there is still a cost associated with hauling, which requires fuel and labor, and disposal, which requires substantial land and equipment resources. Residents who choose to participate in this optional program are paying these costs, with a subsidy set by the Village that reflects potential landfill cost savings to the Village and keeps participant costs low and within the market range for this type of service.
Can neighbors share a cart?
Yes. Sharing is encouraged, but as only one household will be billed, payment arrangements among neighbors must be made prior to enrollment. Only one household will receive the starter kit, as well.
How can my large apartment complex or business participate?
This program is designed for 1-3 unit residential participants. Several companies provide this type of service for commercial accounts. We encourage you to speak with these companies or your landlord to find a service that meets your needs.
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