Utilizing Glencoe's Curbside Composting Service, or How I Began to Compost My Kitchen Waste

Utilizing Glencoe's Curbside Composting Service, or How I Began to Compost My Kitchen Waste

Submitted by Bob Breisblatt, Glencoe Sustainability Task Force Member

Disclaimer: Several products and vendors are mentioned in this article and are part of the author’s personal experience. The Village of Glencoe does not endorse the use of specific products or vendors.

In June 2021 after returning from visiting our daughter and her husband in the San Francisco Bay area, we decided to compost our kitchen waste instead of throwing it in the garbage or down the garbage disposal. Where our daughter and her husband live, the use of a kitchen waste composting service is part of their way of life. If they could do it, so could we. 

From the Glencoe Village website, we learned that Glencoe's combined curbside yard waste and composting service are provided by Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS). LRS provides the Village’s garbage and recycling services. It allows residents to dispose of compostable materials landscape waste and food scraps in a biodegradable paper yard waste bag, or curbside bins, between April 1 and December 15. There are two options for utilizing this LRS service: volume-based (stickers) and subscription (annual payment). 

Since we intended to compost all of our kitchen waste, we decided to use the unlimited annual subscription service. We contacted LRS and signed up for the service. Next, we had to organize our kitchen to make collecting our kitchen waste as natural as using our garbage disposal. Our garbage and recycling service, LRS does not supply a food scrap or landscape waste container. Unlike landscape waste which easily goes into lawn waste bags available from local hardware stores or Costco, food waste is different. Did we want rotting vegetables or fruit leaking through paper bags by the side of our house waiting for the once-a-week pick up from LRS? Moreover, how would we collect the kitchen waste? These were questions we researched and were easily solved.  

Kitchen Compost ContainerFirst, we looked for and found the kitchen scrap container we would use in the kitchen.  We found ours on Amazon where we purchased a Utopia Kitchen Compost Bin with a lid for Kitchen Countertop. There are solutions at local hardware stores as well, for example, Lowes has a 2.4 Gallon capacity plastic kitchen compost bin that would have also fit on our counter. Next, we purchased, again from Amazon, compostable food scrap bags to fit in our kitchen scrap container. We bought UNNI 100% Compostable Bags, 2.6 Gallon. 

We find we fill the kitchen scrap container every two days. Once one begins using the kitchen scrap container it becomes second nature and it fills quickly with food scraps and peelings. The types of compostable that LRS accepts for its composting service are quite extensive. Every two days we take our bag from its kitchen container and put it in a larger compostable bag to put in the dedicated garbage can we purchased for our food scraps. The larger compostable bag holds two or three of the kitchen food scrap bags and stops the smaller bags from leaking into the garbage container. The larger bags we use are Reli Compostable 13 Gallon Trash Bags. We use two of these a week with each one holding two to three of the smaller kitchen food scrap bags.

We bought a small 32 Gallon Plastic Wheeled Trash Can with lid to put outside for holding the filled compostable bags along with two bungee straps to hold the lid down and keep animals out. We roll our trash can down to the curb for Wednesday compostable pick up.   During the heat of the summer, we would rinse out the metal compost can we keep by the sink and the garbage container we keep outside if the compostable bags leaked and the containers began to smell.  

Large Compost Container

The curbside food scrap collection program runs from April 1 to December 15. It is a great way to help the environment because composting creates new soil, not increased trash. We save electricity and water by not using our garbage disposal as much as we did before composting.

Compost PDF updated