Food Scraps Composting FAQs

What is food scrapping?

Food scrapping refers to the sorting and collection of leftover food, kitchen scraps, and paper products that are ultimately diverted from landfills and made into compost.

Why should I food scrap compost?

Of all the weighted material that goes into a landfill, approximately 13% of that is food scraps. Food scrapping has many benefits to the environment, including:

  • Reducing garbage volumes thereby preserving precious landfill space
  • Minimizing greenhouse gas production at landfills
  • Creating natural compost which adds nutrients to the soil, protects topsoil from erosion, and conserves water

Food scraps collection is a waste service that is currently gaining prominence as it helps to reduce this flow of waste to landfills. For this reason, the Village of Grayslake, in partnership with Waste Management, SWALCO, and Midwest Organics Recycling, is launching a NEW voluntary Residential Food Scraps Program.

What items can I food scrap compost?

The following items may be composted:

  • Fruits and Vegetables (includes unpainted holiday pumpkins)
  • Leftovers/kitchen scraps (includes coffee grounds, tea bags & filters)
  • Breads, grains, pasta and cereal
  • Meat, poultry, seafood (including shells and bones)
  • Dairy and Eggs (including shells; no liquids)
  • Paper Products (includes paper towels, plates, napkins, egg cartons and pizza boxes)

DO NOT INCLUDE: Plastic, Styrofoam, glass, diapers, metal, liquids, grease, pet waste, or oil.

What do I do if my compost bin or container starts to smell?

When it comes to odor, compost is just like trash: it only becomes a nuisance if left unattended for long periods of time. Curbside composting gets rid of the mess before decomposition sets in. To prevent odors, make sure to regularly remove compost from the container in your home and occasionally clean your bin with baking soda. For easy clean-up, consider lining your curbside bin with paper towels or paper bags. You can also line your curbside bin with a paper yard waste. NO plastic bags are allowed.

What if I don't have enough compost to fill up an entire bin?

The bin doesn't have to be full to take it out to the curb. Using volume-based stickers will allow you to compost only as often as necessary. It is also acceptable to share a compost bin with your neighbors. By pooling your compost—and money to pay for the service or stickers—you can reduce your neighborhood's waste and save money at the same time!

What are some common compost items I should put in my bin?

Egg shells, banana peels, apple cores, coffee grounds, tea bags, stale bread, carrot tops, citrus rinds, peach pits, beef gristle, onion skins, cherry stems, bell pepper stems and seeds, chicken bones, broccoli stalks, corn cobs, wilted lettuce, used paper napkins, dead flowers, house plant clippings, fallen leaves and trimmed branches—just to name a few!