NEW: Beginning August 2023, all single-family residents will be receiving a 3rd LRS cart, specifically for disposal of yard waste and food scraps. This material will be collected by LRS and made into compost, a soil amendment. A new 32-gallon cart will be delivered to your house curbside in late July. There’s no need to be home to receive the cart.
You can begin putting acceptable materials into this cart and place it at the curb for pick up on your first regular trash pick-up day in August. There is no sticker required on this cart, as well. Additional information on the cart and acceptable materials is available here.
If you already have a 3rd cart for organics/food scraps from LRS, we will not deliver a new cart to you. Also, if you do not want the new cart for any reason, please visit the following link LRSrecycles.com/HighlandParkOrganics so that you can submit your information in order to not receive delivery. You can also call LRS at 844.NEED.LRS or email Service@LRSrecycles.com with any inquiries or requests.The City of Highland Park is participating as a pilot community in the Lake County Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Grant, awarded to SWALCO by the USDA. For more information about this grant project, visit the USDA Grant page.
Highland Park consistently achieves a 30% recycling rate citywide (40% for residential)! There is room to catch up and expand participation with our new all-in community-wide curbside composting program.
A good reason to participate in this new service is that in Illinois, food scraps are the largest household waste category at 20%!
Mixing wasted food with our other garbage means that food scraps get sent to the landfill, take up limited space, and create methane due to a lack of oxygen during the decomposition process. In the US, landfills are the third-largest emitters of methane which is exponentially more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).
Instead, you save those valuable materials from the landfill and give them a second chance for nourishing farmland and gardens when you compost. How does the Curbside Composting Service work?
Here is the data source for Illinois' Top 10.
How does the program work?
1. All-in Community-wide Curbside Composting Program
2. Highland Park Composts! Program for Businesses and Local Restaurants
3. Frequently Asked Questions
All-in Community-wide Composting Program
Highland Park’s all-in community-wide composting service allows residents to dispose of the following items in their composting cart: food scraps (fruits, vegetables, shells and bones, pasta/rice, eggshells, nutshells, bread and grains, meat, fish, dairy, coffee grounds) and plants, flowers, and other yard waste.
A handy reminder for what to put in the compost container is "If it grows, it goes!"
Plastic, metal and glass may not be placed in the composting cart.
Additional information about the program is available here.
Kitchen Food Scrap Containers
Collecting your food scraps in the kitchen is the first step before taking them outside to your curbside cart.
Many local stores carry indoor containers to collect food scraps. The containers come in various styles to sit on your counter or are designed to go under the kitchen sink. You can also re-purpose an old container to collect food scraps on the counter, under the sink, or store them in your freezer until ready for disposal in the curbside cart.
Highland Park Composts (For Businesses and Local Restaurants)
Highland Park Composts is a dedicated collaboration between The City of Highland Park, the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), and Lakeshore Recycling to support the implementation of food scrap composting at local restaurants and businesses. Bright Beat Project Management and Consulting assisted in the project management and implementation of a pilot program throughout 2018 and has laid the foundation for the program to expand into the future.
Local businesses and restaurants who are interested in signing up for this program should email email@example.com. Businesses and restaurants who participate in the program get access to:
- A free waste audit and walkthrough of operations
- A free recommendation and cost assessment for best practices to divert waste from landfills
- Bilingual Restaurant training guide for food scrap diversion and recycling
- 3 Customized laminated posters for recyclable, compostable, and landfill waste
- Customized Communications Cheat Sheet
- Complimentary compostable bags (limited supply)
- Registration with the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition
- Promotion through the City
Current participating restaurants and businesses include:
|Abbott House||(847) 432-6080||405 Central Avenue|
|Bluegrass||(847) 831-0595||1636 Old Deerfield Road|
|Bright Bowls||(847) 504-9019||777 Central Avenue|
|Highland Park Presbyterian Church||(847) 432-1695||330 Laurel Avenue|
|La Casa De Isaac & Moishe||(847) 433-7400||2014 1st Street|
|Makom Solel Lakeside||(847) 433-3555||1301 Clavey Road|
|Tesla||(847) 579-0028||1200 Old Skokie Valley Road|
Back to the Top
Household Compost Guide
You Composting Yet? Here's How To Start
Residential Food Scrap Drop Locations
Compost Bins & Rain Barrel Sales
Introduction to the Grant
USDA Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project
WHY is composting so important?
There are numerous reasons, but some of the most important:
- Our landfills won’t fill up as fast
- Composting turns food scraps into healthy soil that can be utilized in many ways
- Compost helps prevent plant diseases
- It reduces the need for fertilizers and chemicals
- Conserves water
- (the big one) It reduces greenhouse gas emissions/prevents pollution that contributes to global warming/climate change.
Why is the City offering this service?
There will always be food scraps to discard (e.g., a banana peel). Composting is a great way to recycle those discards instead of tossing them in the trash.
By diverting our food scraps from landfills, we are helping protect the environment of Highland Park by:
- Redirecting wasted food to the Material Recovery Facility, where the materials are recycled into compost and used by farmers and gardeners to nourish the soil.
- Reducing our impact on climate change, as solid waste landfills are the largest human-made source of methane gas in the United States and 23 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
What is composting?
After your food scraps and yard waste reach the Material Recovery Facility, they are composted through the natural process of recycling this organic matter into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. The resulting decomposed matter, which looks similar to fertile garden soil, is called compost and used for gardening, horticulture, and agriculture.
Why should we separate food scraps for compost instead of mixing them with our other garbage?
When you put your food waste into your regular garbage can, it gets taken to a landfill. Food is the most significant component of landfills at 24%! Plastic is a close second at 18%.
Instead, you save those valuable materials from the landfill and give them a second life to support farmland when you compost. Compost reduces the need to use artificial, chemical-heavy fertilizers. Also, the economic benefits associated with compost for the farmer or home gardener involve reducing the need for water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
What can I compost?
Eggshells, banana peels, apple cores, coffee grounds, tea bags, stale bread, carrot tops, citrus rinds, peach pits, beef gristle, onion skins, cherry stems, bell pepper stems and seeds, chicken bones, broccoli stalks, corn cobs, wilted lettuce, dirty pizza boxes, used paper napkins and kleenex, dead flowers, house plant clippings, fallen leaves, and trimmed branches—to name a few! Think of all the waste you can keep out of your trash and our landfills by filling your compost bin instead.
Is there anything I can't compost?
This service does NOT accept diapers, liquids, grease, pet waste, Styrofoam, or oil. Recyclable items (metal, plastics, newspaper, glass, etc.) should all still go in your recycling bin. Plastic bags are not allowed (only certified compostable bags are allowed).
Where do the food scraps and yard waste go after collection?
When LRS services your curbside compost cart, the compostable materials are taken to the Material Recovery Facility (MRF). The curbside material is transformed into nutrient-rich, organic compost for farms and gardeners.
Is compost smelly?
When it comes to odor, compost is just like trash: it only becomes a nuisance if left unattended for long periods. Curbside composting gets rid of the mess before decomposition, which causes the smell.
To prevent odors, you can store your discarded food materials in the freezer, regularly remove compost from the container in your home to the curbside bin, and occasionally clean your bin with baking soda.
For easy clean-up, consider lining your curbside bin with paper towels or paper bags. You can also line your curbside bin with paper or yard waste. NO plastic bags are allowed (not even biodegradable ones).
What do I do with my yard waste?
All-in community-wide composting accepts both food scraps and yard waste—both go into the same bin. If you fill your bin and have leftover yard waste, you may place them with a sticker in a paper yard waste bag, personal small cart or tied bundle so long as it is under 50 lbs with nothing longer than 4 ft.
Current subscription organics customers who would like to continue to receive pickups of multiple bags, bundles, or personal carts when they would like without the need for stickers should remain subscribed to the program.
What if I don't need yard waste collection?
You can use this service for composting even if you do not need yard waste service.
What if I don't have enough compost to fill up an entire bin?
The bin doesn’t have to be packed to take it out to the curb. All-in community-wide composting will allow you to compost only as often as necessary.
Where can I get a container to collect my food scraps in my kitchen?
Many local stores carry indoor containers to collect food scraps before taking them out to your curbside bin. They come in a variety of styles with different amenities, like charcoal filters. Many are designed to be attractive enough to sit on your counter. Others are designed to go under the kitchen sink. You can also re-purpose an old container to collect food scraps.