Chicago’s New Compost Ordinance

Compost-1-post-300x225As of July 29th, 2015 Chicago’s City Council approved a new compost ordinance. This new regulation allows gardens in Chicago to compost many different food scraps such as organic waste, vegetables, fruits, and eggshells. The purpose of this deregulation is to expand the permitted compostable materials at farms and gardens in Chicago. This was an issue because previously Chicago gardens were only allowed to compost grass and shrubbery clippings, which are not very effective compost materials with very few minerals. According to Jennifer Walling, the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, ““This will be helpful to urban agriculture since one of the costs of urban agriculture is soil. Most of Chicago soil is contaminated, so that compost will help.” Previously there was also a fee of $3,000 for farms generating less than 4,000 tons of compost annually which has been dropped with the new ordinance to $300. The ordinance also accounts for the concern of the compost attracting rats and having a vile smell by requiring the compost to be kept inside a vessel with no openings. Currently since the ordinance has passed the Chicago City Council it is in the “rulemaking” phase which means that it is being reviewed by different agencies who are working to add regulations to the ordinance. Once it has passed the rulemaking process the legislation will take effect. It is expected to pass this final step in the beginning of November however there has been no update so far.




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