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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Orange is the New Green for Evanston Composting

Dec 28, 2017 04:47PM

The city of Evanston has entered into a franchise agreement with Collective Resource, Inc. (CRI), to provide composting services to Evanston residents, to meet its sustainability goals. Under the agreement, the private Evanston-based composting service will offer its basic residential service for a reduced rate. Their five-gallon orange buckets may be a good start to saving the world from the climate crisis if they are used for compost.

        CRI collects food waste and compostable products from homes, businesses and institutions and takes them to a commercial composting site. The food scraps then become a nutrient-rich soil amendment, instead of sitting in a landfill. Commercial composting is different than backyard composting, because anything that was once alive, including meat and dairy products, can be composted.

        The city will also start a Yard Waste Ride-Along program next spring. Sustainability Coordinator Kumar Jensen, says, “The service offered through Collective Resource will be a 12-month service and will feature a ‘container-swap’ model program, where each individual container a property owner pays for will be picked up and swapped for an entirely clean container. There may also be some variability in what materials are accepted between each service.”

        The length of service for the Yard Waste Ride-Along program will be seasonal, from April 1 to mid-December, and is a tipped service, meaning that the containers are tipped or dumped by the yard waste collection truck, and then set back in their collection location; each property keeps the exact same container, and nothing is swapped.”

        Seventh Ward Alderman Eleanor Revelle says, “CRI will make it easy for more Evanstonians to participate in composting their food scraps. CRI will offer food scrap collection to the many residents who live in multi-family apartment buildings and who won’t be served by the Food Scrap Ride-Along service. And it will provide an option for those who want a collection service between December 15 and March 30, when the Ride Along program will not be available.”

        CRI has different but also reduced rates for businesses and nonprofits like restaurants, schools and faith communities, based in Evanston, that want to do their part in reducing greenhouse gases by diverting their food scraps.

        Collective Resource owner Erlene Howard says the city is breaking new ground by giving the franchise to a small, woman-owned business. She says, “Evanston is incredibly unique in signing a franchise agreement with us. I don’t know of anyone who is not a major hauler who has gotten an agreement like this.” Howard founded CRI in 2010 after she realized that her commitment to an organic food diet did not completely fulfill her passion to heal the planet.

For more information or to sign up, visit CollectiveResource.us.