Composting as Landfill Diversion

Updated: 7 days ago

Landfill diversion is as it sounds: diverting material away from the landfill for alternate use. Composting is a great example of landfill diversion in action. Organic waste, like food scraps and spoiled produce, can be used to make compost. The compost process, which is a biological process, breaks down this organic material into an organic fertilizer for use in soil. Some municipalities allow backyard composting, some offer municipal compost/organic waste services, and others permit businesses to haul and process organic waste. In any case, organic waste is diverted from the landfill.

Landfilling organic waste like produce, meats, dairy, etc., has been shown to be hazardous for the environment. The decomposition of organic waste produces methane and leachate. This leachate becomes toxic as it corrodes everything else buried in the landfill, and if a landfill was not properly constructed, this toxic leachate will pollute the surrounding environment until the landfill is remediated. Unfortunately, remediating landfills is proving to be a hazardous and expensive task. See a list with Illinois landfill superfund sites here for examples. Below is a list of companies that offer residential compost services in Chicago and keep food waste out of the landfill.

Check out illinoiscompost.org for additional resources. The Illinois Food Scrap Coalition (IFSC) is a thriving not-for-profit organization advancing diversion and composting of organics in Illinois through advocacy, program implementation, market and business development, policy, and outreach. 1. https://ecommons.cornell.edu/handle/1813/44736 2. https://www.effinghamdailynews.com/news/local_news/state-identifies-leaking-substance-at-landfill-33/article_eca5de8b-0f9d-5e22-9be5-3cd670dea12a.html 3. https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/community-relations/sites/Pages/default.aspx

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