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No Trash


About a month ago, my South Loop neighborhood condo building started a composting program and my trash has not smelled since. Composting may seem like a foreign idea, especially in the city, but it’s really quite simple! Our program is set up through Waste Management and they collect our compost once a week. Once you have a collection set up, all you have to do is get a small bin to keep in your home for compostable materials, line it with a compostable bag, and empty your bin every 3-5 days in your larger collection bin.

Does your building or work compost? Spread the news to the neighborhood and let us know!

After extensive research our household purchased the Full Circle Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector from Amazon. It was $30. With that we ordered a box of 25 Full Circle Renew Compostable Waste Bags for $10. The bags are only 2.5 gallons, so as you can imagine this easily fits in our kitchen, we keep ours next to our recycling bag and garbage can. The only trick is to empty the container every 3-5 days. Because the bags are also compostable, they start to break down as soon as an item is placed in them. You don’t want a bag with a hole in it! If you tend to get busy or forgetful I would suggest designing a system to remind yourself to bring the composting down. If your bag does get a hole in it you can put it in a paper bag, which is also compostable.

If you are recycling and composting as much as you can at home, you will be surprised to see how little actual trash you will accumulate! Since recycling is rinsed and compost is taken out so frequently your trash may never be smelly again!

Below are charts to remind you of what can be composted and what can be recycled.

Please be careful with what you recycle and what you compost! Waste Management explains: “One dirty product, or one with food waste still in it, can contaminate an entire bale, containing thousands of pounds of collected plastics. This can cause thousands of recyclable items to go to a landfill instead of being recycled.” They also note that recycling must never be placed in a plastic bag or it will be automatically sent to the trash.

NOTE: Some of the items listed below are not recommended for at home compost piles because they will be very smelly as they breakdown. These lists were created from items which are accepted by Waste Management.


Compostable Items: Anything that is Wholly Organic, Nothing that was Chemically Produced
*might be recyclable




*Plastic food packaging/wrap

Meat, poultry

Latex & plastic gloves

Bakery items & ingredients

*Coated & plastic take-out containers/cups

Eggs & paper egg cartons

*Plastic bags

Plants, cut flowers, potting soil

*Milk & juice cartons

Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags

Aerosol cans

Paper products (napkins & paper towels)

Twist ties, rubber bands, wire

Compostable packaging

Grease from cooking

Hair (human & animal)

Kitty litter/feces


Recyclable Items: Non Organic Materials, Rinse All Food off First





Aluminum cans

Corrugated cardboard

Clear, brown, or green glass

Look for the following numbers in the symbol
 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7

Aluminum foil/bakeware


Unacceptable glass

Unacceptable Plastic

Steel/tin cans

Office papers

Heat-resistant glass/Pyrex

Items coded 6 PS

Unacceptable Metal


Broken glass


Metal caps/lids


Mirror/window glass


Paper/cardboard milk & juice cartons



Mixed paper/unsolicited direct mail



Additional Recycling: These items can be brought to a store for recycling


Electronics Can be brought to a store like Best Buy

Car batteries Usually can be exchanged with your battery store

Computers (CPUs, monitors, peripherals, keyboards)

The following can be brought to most hardware stores i.e. Ace on State St

Office equipment (photocopier, printer, fax)

Household and button batteries


Rechargable batteries

Consumer electronics (DVD player, stereo, phone)

Incandecent & LED lights

Cell phones

Compact florescent bulbs



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