Composting 
Composting
Composting Links & Resources:
How to Compost Website
Composting 101 Website
North Cook Co SWCD Composting FAQs
 
Where to purchase a composter
North Cook County SWCD Composter Info & Sales
Earth Machine
 
Composting Bin
Composting Box
 
Composting is an easy way for you to reduce waste and turn it into something beneficial for your plants, as well as the environment. According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 26 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. All of that waste could be turned into something beneficial through the process of composting.

Compost improves your soil by releasing essential nutrients, and helping it retain water. By improving your soil, composting can reduce or even eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers that are harmful for the environment. Composting can also amend contaminated soils by removing solids, oils, grease, heavy metals, volatile organic chemicals and other hazardous waste. Compost has the ability to prevent pollutants in stormwater runoff from reaching surface water resources. Compost has also been shown to prevent erosion and silting on embankments parallel to creeks, lakes, and rivers, and prevents erosion and turf loss on roadsides, hillsides, playing fields, and golf courses.

The organic wastes used for composting may be food leftovers, plant materials, wood fibres, paper etc. The “soft green” materials, such as grass clippings and food leftovers, are the nitrogen part of the mixture. The “hard brown” materials like cardboard, or bark are the carbons. These C:N ratios are important because the tiny decomposers need about 1 part of nitrogen for every 30 parts of carbon in the organic material. If the ratio is greater than 30:1, nitrogen will be lacking and materials will decompose more slowly.
Materials to Compost
Browns = High Carbon Greens = High Nitrogen
Ashes, wood
Bark
Cardboard, shredded
Corn stalks
Fruit waste
Leaves
Newspaper, shredded
Peanut shells
Peat moss
Pine needles
Sawdust
Stems and twigs, shredded
Straw
Vegetable stalks, Alfalfa
Algae
Clover
Coffee grounds
Food waste Garden waste Grass clippings
Hay
Hedge clippings
Hops, used
Manures
Seaweed
Vegetable scraps
Weeds*
*Avoid weeds that have gone to seed, as seeds may survive all but the hottest compost piles.
Fenced Composting Area
 
A Citizen's Guide to Preserving the Fox River
in Illinois