Public Works and Development Services » Refuse & Recycling » Curbside composting

Curbside Composting FAQs

How much is it?

The program cost depends on the cart size. For reference, the 65 gallon cart is comparable in volume to two bags or containers of yard waste.

Cart Size


Price 5/1/22 - 4/30/23

35 gallon

$13/month; $26 added to bi-monthly water bill

65 gallon

$15/month; $30 added to bi-monthly water bill

95 gallon

$17/month; $34 added to bi-monthly water bill

Do I need to purchase stickers for my yard waste if I sign up for curbside composting?

You will not need to buy brown bags and stickers if you sign up for the compost program. The 65 gallon cart holds the volume of 2-yard waste bags. If you purchase 4 yards waste stickers per month, you can pay for the cost of the cart.

When is pick up?

The compost will be picked up on Tuesdays, which is the regular yard waste pick up day. During the winter months (December, January, February, and March), pick up is every other week.

What can and cannot be composted?

All organics, yard waste, soiled paper (paper towels, pizza boxes, napkins, paper plates, paper towels, soiled newspaper), all food scraps including meat and dairy. Compostable service ware and bags meeting ASTM D6400 standards. No pet waste, diapers, plastic packaging, styrofoam, coated paper products, and plastic bags. 

Will the compost cart attract rodents and pests?

It will not attract any more pests than your regular waste since food scraps were already going in your trash for pick up. If you are experiencing a problem, store your cart in the garage and secure  the lid. Another suggestion is to place yard waste and leaves over food scraps in the cart, or place food scraps in newspaper/biodegradable bags to reduce the attractive smell to pests.

Do I get any of the compost?

Yes! Each spring compost will be delivered to River Forest and made available to program subscribers. You will be notified via email. 

Can I share my compost pick-up service?

Sharing is encouraged with your neighbor but the Village will only bill one household for the whole cost.

I am in an apartment building - can I sign up?

If you are in a condo or apartment building and would like the service, you need to contact your building management for permission and to designate billing.

I already compost at home. What is the difference with curbside?

With curbside compost pick up, the volume and types of materials that can be included greatly increases. Meats, dairy, all food scraps, pizza boxes, napkins etc. can all be included. In backyard compost containers, meat and dairy are not included. You can still continue your backyard compost but with curbside, you can include yard waste plus items you could not compost before.

Do I pay for the cart?

No, the Village's waste hauler will deliver a cart to your residence along with an under the counter pail for collecting food scraps

Why is this a benefit? Food decomposes, so what’s wrong with it just going to a landfill?

Organic material, including food scraps, is the single largest component of municipal solid waste that enters landfills and incinerators across the United States. Once at the landfill, biodegradable materials breakdown in the absence of oxygen to create methane. Methane gas, along with the transportation, impacts climate change and is a potent greenhouse gas. According to the EPA landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the United States.

What will happen with the compost once it's collected?

The waste hauler take it to a compost facility in Illinois. Over time, the food scraps will be turned into compost that can be used to add nutrients to the soil.

Do I need to wrap my food scraps or put them in biodegradable bags?

It is not necessary but some people find it easier to empty their under-the-sink container by using a bio bag. If you have a lot of meat or dairy scraps, it may be helpful to wrap them in newspaper or paper to cut down on odors.