Curbside Food Scrap Composting

Residents with yard waste carts can compost food scraps along with their regular yard waste. Compost and yard waste will be collected on the same day as your trash and recycling, starting the first full week in April through the last full week in November. There is no subscription needed, but you must have a yard waste cart to participate as food scraps are not permitted in paper yard waste bags. 

Stickers should be partially affixed to the lid of your organics container so they can be easily removed by Waste Management at the time of collection.

To request a yard waste cart, please contact Waste Management at or 847-272-4145 and one will be delivered to your home free of charge. Residents can opt in or out of this program at any time.

Residents will have a choice of a 96-gallon or 35-gallon cart. The 35-gallon cart is recommended for residents who will be composting primarily food scraps. The larger cart is recommended for residents who will also be composting yard waste such as grass clippings.

Yard waste sticker(s) must be affixed to the lid of your cart for each collection. The 96-gallon carts will require 3 stickers, and the 35-gallon carts will require 1 sticker per collection. Yard waste stickers ($2.25 each) are available for purchase at Village Hall, Wilmette Jewel Food Stores, Chalet Nursery and Millen Hardware.

Residents may line their toters with paper yard waste bags to help keep their toter clean.

Program Guidelines

  • Food scraps should be combined in your toter with the rest of your yard waste. To keep your toter clean, we recommend lining the toter with a paper yard waste bag, or hosing the toter out after each collection.
  • Residents are responsible for providing their own indoor container for temporarily storing food scraps, if they wish to do so.
  • Concerned about animals? Your compost container is no more appealing to animals than your regular trash. For both trash and compost, a tight-fitting lid is the best animal deterrent. If your lid is broken, or if your container has a hole, please call Waste Management at 847-272-4145 to have it repaired or replaced free of charge.

Acceptable food scraps include: fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood (cooked and uncooked), bones, dairy, eggs and eggshells, bread, grains, cereal, pasta, teabags, meat, poultry, bones, seafood, shells, salad dressings/oil (unpackaged, no bulk oil) and coffee grounds and filters. Shredded paper, cardboard egg cartons, and soiled paper bags, tissues, paper towels, napkins and uncoated compostable take-out containers are also acceptable. 

UNacceptable food scraps include: bathroom waste, pet waste and litter, metal/foil, glass, plastic bottles/cups, foam, latex and plastic gloves, rubber bands or wire, chip bags, food wrappers, condiment packages, tape, string, rope or twine. Plastic bags of any kind, even those marked as “compostable” are not permitted in this program.

Questions? Please contact Public Works at or 847.853.7500.

Composting creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment that improves soil health and function, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions in landfills caused by rotting food!

Through this program, food scraps and yard waste material are mixed, and taken to a licensed, commercial composter. They grind the compost and pile it in long rows (referred to as windrows) in an open field and aerate it. The resulting soil and soil amendments are then sold commercially.

Winter Gap Composting

Residents may continue to collect compost in their bins over the winter, for eventual removal when the program begins again in April. For residents who wish to continue actively composting during the winter months, there are several providers and programs that are offered in the Chicagoland area. Click here for more information on composting providers and programs. 

Interested in composting at your own home?

The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) has provided a very helpful video for getting started! Click on the video below.

Materials like grass trimmings, wood waste, leaves, weeds, and other garden refuse may be placed in a compost pile, provided that it is enclosed in a fence, box or other container equal in height to the compost pile. Compost piles may not exceed 100 square feet in area and shall not exceed five feet in height.

Your compost pile or container must be set back from your lot line and cannot be located in your front or side yard. Garbage, pet waste, meat scraps or other materials that may attract animals to the compost pile, or which may produce an obnoxious odor, are prohibited.