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  • David A.F. Sweet

Residents Appreciate Local Composting Initiative

By David A. F. Sweet With Earth Month reminding all to care for the environment, scores of Lake Foresters are taking advantage of a year-round composting service to manage their waste more effectively.  In 2023, the City of Lake Forest partnered with WasteNot Compost to provide a voluntary curbside compost collection service for residential properties. About 180 households who have signed up so far for weekly or biweekly services have received an airtight five-gallon compost receptacle, which can be filled with all food waste, 100 percent paper products, certified compostable products and other items. More than 32,000 pounds of waste have been composted by Lake Forest households since the program launched last September.

The Green Team gets together at Deer Path Middle School. The school has composted more than 3,200 pounds of waste.

Lake Forest resident John Otto has been thrilled with the initiative. “We appreciate the opportunity to reduce our environmental footprint and also return fertilizer to benefit our community,” he noted. “Composting has been an easy, low-effort habit for our family to learn and integrate into our day-to-day routine. It is also a learning opportunity for our kids to be mindful about minimizing waste, and how it is important that everyone be a steward of our planet.”

Added Eileen Looby Weber, Fourth Ward alderman and chairman of the City’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, “As a community that prides itself on environmental stewardship and sustainability, we have been thrilled to take another significant step towards a greener future. This marks a major step in our ongoing efforts to reduce waste, promote responsible consumption and minimize our greenhouse gas emissions.” Residents can register for WasteNot’s curbside compost collection service anytime on WasteNot’s website, with no long-term commitments or cancellation fees. The exclusive Lake Forest rate for residential service starts at $14 a month. Tommy Vaughan, business operations advisor for WasteNot Compost, said waste collected in Lake Forest is processed at its facility and their partner facilities in Chicago. Residents can claim the resulting nutrient-rich soil amendment at no charge to help their plants grow. “We are encouraged by the response from the community so far and appreciate the collaboration we've had from the City and other stakeholders,” Vaughan said. City Hall is composting, and the service has also been offered to commercial businesses, non-profits and schools in Lake Forest.  Deer Path Middle School and Sheridan School have signed up, and Deer Path has composted more than 3,200 pounds of waste, while Sheridan has composted more than 1,000 pounds. Deer Path teacher Nicole Burmingham has been pleased that she and students can be involved with helping the environment. “I couldn't be more happy that our school is participating, and our students love knowing they are making a difference,” Burmingham said. “WasteNot was extremely helpful in guiding us through the process. They went out of their way to ensure we were ready for our launch date and answered all of our questions with speed and clarity.”


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