Here is a list of common questions and concerns. If you don't see an answer to your question here, don't hesitate to contact us.

What can go in my compost bucket?

See our What to Compost page for guidance. But a general rule of thumb - everything that was once alive is compostable, even your old 100% cotton underwear!

Will my compost smell?

Keeping our 5-gallon bucket outside and frequently emptying into it from a small countertop bin will help avoid any odors. Click here for ideas on how to set up compost collection in your kitchen. You may also see our post about managing the compost odors during the warm season for some tips and tricks.

What can I do about squirrels taking interest in my compost bucket?

If you experience squirrel damage to your compost buckets, let us know, and we’ll deliver Squirrel Stopper Lid. There are other solutions as well, the most effective being keeping your bucket in the garage, or inside, or placing it in a 10-gallon steel can with a locking lid. Read more about squirrels and composting here.

Can I really put meat, bones, and fish in my bucket? 

Yes! Anything that was once alive can go in your bucket. Here is a comprehensive list. And here are some tips from our team members.

What does commercial composting mean?

Your food scraps and compostable disposables that fill the 32-gallon totes and 5-gallon buckets will go to a special facility where they are mixed with grass clippings, leaves, Christmas trees, and food-soiled cardboard to be turned into nutrient-rich compost. These materials are placed in the exact conditions they need in order to decompose. The process includes providing the organic materials moisture, heat, and air. At the site, a process called windrow composting is used to create the finished compost, which is mostly used for landscaping.

What is the history of commercial composting in Illinois?

State Bill 99 passed in 2009 to make large scale food scrap composting legal in Illinois. Statewide, organic waste represents 1/3 of the trash brought to Illinois landfills. The new bill created smarter regulations for commercial composting, making it appealing economically for investors to start commercial operations. Kay McKeen from SCARCE originated the idea for the bill and worked on it for 5 years. Senator Steans sponsored the bill and Jennifer Walling, now of the Illinois Environmental Council, worked with McKeen to introduce the original bill. State Bill 99 was written with input from both environmental organizations, as well as from the waste industry.

Will my compost attract fruit flies or other insects?

After a number of days, especially in the warmer weather, your compost may attract insects, therefore we recommend you keep your bucket outside and collect into a smaller receptacle indoors to limit the amount of time your food waste sits in the house. We also recommend you rinse your indoor receptacle every time it is emptied. Make sure to keep all pantry items tightly closed. Read more about suggestions on protecting your compost bin from critters here.

How much can composting reduce my household garbage?

By at least 30%. Click here to see a pie chart that illustrates the waste stream of a typical household. Composting also raises recycling awareness therefore, quite often, recycling rates increase in homes that compost.

If you compost an event for us do you also take the garbage and recycling?

If we staff your event, we will help you manage the waste stream to ensure that all waste ends up in the proper place, but we haul only the compost from the event.

What is your pickup area?

Check our compost pickup service area map to see where we operate, if you don't see us where you'd like to, let us know!

Why should I compost?

It's good for our planet! For many more reasons why, click here.

How does commercial composting differ from the composting I can do in my backyard?

A commercial composting site takes ALL food waste, including meat, dairy, bones, and compostable disposables. Backyard composting is usually limited to fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, and other items that more quickly decompose.

What are the different types of composting?

Commercial composting, backyard composting, and vermicomposting (composting with worms) are the three main types of composting. (See above for more information about commercial composting.) Backyard composting can be done in an outdoor bin and is mostly limited to fruits and vegetables, leaves and grass clippings, and other items that won't attract pests. Vermicomposting can be done indoors in a small container and is great for apartment dwellers. Almost anything that can be put in a typical outdoor compost pile can be put in a worm bin. All three types of composting greatly reduce household waste, as well as create a nutrient-rich soil.