No More Landfills FAQ

First some facts about Chicago Organic Waste:

Chicago composts 2% of all organic waste. The remaining 98% goes to landfills.
60% of all material headed to landfills can be composted.
In the Chicago Metropolitan area produces over 8 million tons of waste annually. Of this 4.8 million tons can be composted to help us rebuild our soil, grow food, and make our air cleaner.

Nature’s Little Recyclers has created powerful composting solutions for Chicago. We are working hard to scale up to the level we need to handle Chicago’s waste problem.

Frequently Asked Questions from Nature’s Little Recyclers:

Why do you charge to pick up and process compost?
We charge to cover the labor, transport and overhead costs of processing the organic waste. This is similar to the cost landfills and waste management companies charge. It is needed to be able to assure we can afford to process and covert trash into black gold.

If compost is so valuable, why can’t it pay for itself?
- Food Prices. The more expensive the soil and fertilizers, the more expensive the food. In developing scale for organic farms, we are working against industrialized chemical farming. In order to be competitive, we have to sell compost at a competitive price.
-Landfill Fees: We are doing more upfront processing, clearing all material into compost within 6 months. Landfills charge less upfront yet must sit on materials for at least 30 years, creating tremendous costs for the next generation. Landfill Fees do not represent the real cost to dumping in them.

Why are landfills cheaper?
Landfills are not cheaper; they just charge less upfront. As they fill the landfills, they earn these fees by burying the material which in a perfect world, the trash is encased, swallowed by the earth for thousands of years. When it works this way it is cheap and efficient, as we have been led to believe. Yet we know it never works that way, and these sites cause environmental damage including ground water contamination and escaped greenhouse gases. Legacy costs are hidden, often picked up by future customers, local governmental bodies, and ultimately the tax payers. These hidden costs can reach tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars to remedy and care for these old landfills.

Does composting save money?
Yes, composting first saves money by eliminating 60% of materials heading into landfills. This lowers legacy costs, and extends the limited capacity of current landfills. This alone saves money, and when combined with no greenhouse gases being produced, it is a tremendous savings.
In Chicago, composting the next 98% is important, as it answers our right now need for clean soil for urban farms growing local foods. Over the long term we lower governmental costs covering landfills and environmental damage caused by them.

What keeps us from composting?
The biggest barrier has been public opinion and the ease of using landfill based disposal systems. As this changes, we need to build composting facilities such as Nature’s Little Recyclers Vermicomposting Systems. Currently premium service and early adopters finance the expansion of composting. Yet to be truly effective, capital investment will be needed to reach scale against landfills. Once scale is reached, our overall costs will drop significantly, and be competitive over landfill based disposal fees. Once we reach scale we will see also substantial savings over landfill legacy payouts needed.

What if Chicago composted 98% of its organic waste?
If we composted all Chicago’s organic waste, we would be able to feed the soil of 800 acres of Urban farms every year, allowing us to grow over 10,000,000 pounds annually of fresh, organic, and natural fruits and vegetables. That is enough to provide all our children with a salad and vegetable/fruit with every lunch and dinner. The ability to prevent methane gases and environmental damage to future generations is priceless. Chicago is known for doing the best and biggest projects, and this is no less a monumental effort that we can do together.