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What is Composting?

What is Composting? An image of food scraps and a handful of the soil composting turns those scraps into


We are building a composting center in the empty lot at 611 W. Healey, so we thought we should share some information about composting. We are newbies to this process, as are many of our residents, so we got some help from the University of Illinois Extension Office. Thanks to Amy DeLorenzo, Extension Educator for providing the information below and Maggie Furr for creating our infographic!

What is compost?

Compost is organic material (typically food scraps and green waste like grass clippings, leaves, sticks, etc.) that is used as a soil amendment. It can be made from material you already have on hand, especially kitchen scraps. It is an alternative to traditional soil amendments like fertilizer and is safe to use on both edible and non-edible plants.

Why is composting so important?

Typically, food and other natural materials that are thrown in garbage cans and landfills get mixed up with other garbage such as plastic, metal, etc. and do not break down effectively. This decomposing material releases methane gas, which is 30x more powerful than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change. When you compost the material instead you transform it into a valuable resource instead of waste.

How do I compost?

There are many ways to participate in composting, and some are more suitable than others depending on your living situation:

  • If you live in a small space without access to and outdoor area, you may wish to participate in a compost collection service, in which people pick up food and yard scraps from your home. Inquire at your municipality to see if this is an option.
  • If you live in a small space and have house plants you would like to fertilize with compost a small worm bin or vermicomposting may be right for you.
  • If you have backyard space and wish to build a compost bin or compost pile, there are options for that as well.
  • Soon, If you are a Royse + Brinkmeyer resident who lives near 611 W. Healey you can add your compostable materials to the compost bin there! The bin is currently being built and should be ready for use in early fall.

What exactly is “compostable material”?

There are lots of commonly used household items that can be composted. For a detailed guide on what can and cannot be composted check out the infographic created by UIUC student, Maggie Furr, below.

Further Resources

If you are composting in Illinois, a good resource to check out is the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition. This website will assist you in finding services, answer frequent questions about compost, and provide a community of support if you wish to know more.

compostable materials