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McLean County Aims to Boost Commercial Composting

McLean County is well behind the goal it has set for composting commercial food waste.

The Ecology Action Center drafted the county's 20-year solid waste management plan, which Bloomington, Normal and the county have approved. It calls for the county to compost 50 percent of all commercial food waste between 2027-2032. It's currently less than 10 percent.

Ecology Action Center Director Michael Brown said there's a misperception that food waste will break down in a landfill.

He said it will decompose, but slowly, and it also creates methane gas.

“In addition to the valuable loss of these nutrients that could be used instead as an organic fertilizer, also we are contributing to climate change by throwing food waste into the trash,” Brown said.

Brown said the county currently produces an estimated 30,000 tons of food waste annually.

“These are valuable organic nutrients that when we waste food or just look at the food scraps and leftovers that can’t be consumed, when we put that into landfills, they are essentially being lost in perpetuity,” Brown said.

Midwest Fiber Recycling of Normal has contracted with some local businesses and institutions, including Illinois State University, to transport food waste to be composted at a facility in Bartonville.

EAC hosts home composting workshops throughout the year.

You can also listen to the full story:

GLT's interview with Michael Brown.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.