October 24, 2023 | Climate, Collection, Composting, Food Waste

Chicago Launches Household Food Scraps Drop-off Program

Top: Chicago food scrap drop-off site. Photo courtesy City of Chicago.

The City of Chicago’s first ever citywide composting initiative, a Food Scrap Drop-Off program, was launched this month, providing all residents access to one of 15 drop-off locations throughout Chicago. To participate, residents complete a sign-up form for a nearby drop-off location, collect their food scraps in sealed containers, and bring the collected materials to the green carts at the drop-off sites. All food waste is accepted, including meat, fish and dairy. Residents may not include food-soiled paper or compostable liner bags. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation crews collect the food scraps and bring them to a city transfer facility. From there, they are transported to the Harbor View Composting Facility, located in Chicago and operated by Whole Earth Compost. The drop-off sites are open from 7 am to 7 pm. The city recommends that households bring their food scraps to the drop-off once a week to minimize odors unless they have storage space in their freezer.

“Diverting food scraps for composting is one of the easiest and most impactful ways for individuals and cities to address the climate crisis,” stated Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “As we bring composting options to all Chicago residents, we can reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that occur when organic food material decomposes in a landfill, return organic materials to the earth, and most importantly, create healthier communities across our great city.”

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