Evanston-based Collective Resource makes composting easier

September 14, 2012 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

One local woman found a way to help people protect the planet with very little effort.

If you just put all your garden waste, kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and autumn leaves into a giant pile, it will eventually decompose. But if you lack the time, space or energy to manage it properly, you might not like the results. One local woman says that was exactly her predicament, so she found a way to make it easy for everyone to compost and to "live green."

Dinner preps in the McClimen household are a family affair. So is protecting the planet.

"We'd already been recycling, and we'd been trying to reduce our waste, and I wanted to find a way to compost," said Kerri McClimen.

They found their answer with Collective Resource -- a local company that does door-to-door food scrap pick-ups.

Aiden and Vivian help the family gather its food scraps and dump them into a bucket the company provides.

For about $15, the Collective Resource drops by every other week to pick up their scraps and deliver a fresh bucket. They serve several area restaurants and schools as well.

"We started in June 2010, and it took us six months to haul our first ton, and that was residential-- and how we've grown," said Collective Resource President Erlene Howard. "Now we do four tons a week."

The waste is delivered to a commercial compost site that grinds it, spins it, and piles it into wind rows.

"They let the food scraps and the yard waste gets the exposure to the sunlight and the air and the rain that it needs to breakdown, and in that process, it doesn't create any pollution," Howard said.

The result is an organic soil amendment that can be used as a natural fertilizer.

"A seed that's planted in compost has an 80 percent higher germination rate than a seed that's planted without composting," said Howard.

Collective resource does many commercial clients and counts the Merchandise Mart among them. They also help plan zero-waste events, where they deliver compostable setups and then come back after your event to pick up everything and compost it.

Contact information: http://www.collectiveresource.us/

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