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Composting: The Next Big Thing After Recycling



Composting could be used over landfill sites, says a renowned specialist. 

In recent years, recycling habits have become commonplace, with paper and plastics leading the way. However, organic wastes, which make up about one-third of all waste generated, are still being transported to landfill sites to be buried.

The Central Illinois Composting Symposium’s co-founder Wynne Coplea, however, believes that in the near future, composting would play as key a role as recycling in waste management. She elaborated that like recycling, composting would be slow to catch on but would be embraced eventually as people appreciate the importance of composting over using landfill sites.

That has also been the trend for the Symposium which would be 10 years old come Wednesday. To be held at the Trutter Center at the Lincoln Land Community College, the anniversary represents a transition from backyard composting to bigger organisations investigating ways to make use of composting on a grander scale.

According to event organiser Marnie Record, it has been difficult to reach the ordinary citizen with education on composting. Therefore, suggestions that the 10th anniversary would mean an end to the symposium were wide off the mark since “every single house in the community” does not have a compost. She added that registrants for this year’s symposium include state agencies, universities and large businesses.

This year’s symposium features Mike Nowak, the Chicago Recycling Coalition’s president as keynote speaker. With the focus on mainstream composting, Nowak, who is popular for advocating green living on television with shows such as “The Mike Nowak Show” and “Dig in Chicago”, also does similar promotions on radio and with several articles. His focus on such education through the media has always been composting.

A company that has taken the lead in composting services is Midwest Fiber. It started its services in Peoria and Bloomington when it won a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Their community relations specialist, Marie Streenz explained the importance of composting saying that organic waste being covered in landfill sites decrease the oxygen required for decomposition. This was illustrated by the finding of a practically unchanged banana peel after 70 years in a landfill when it would take three or six months to decompose it in a home or commercial compost.

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