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Food Scraps from Jewel-Osco will be Composted, Not Taken to the Landfill

DuPage County’s alliance with Jewel-Osco will help the county meet its goal of diverting 40 percent of the county’s commercial waste from landfills.

Nearly 65 percent of Jewel-Osco’s waste stream comes from food scraps. Starting in July, these food scraps will no longer go into DuPage County landfills.

Jewel-Osco special projects manager John Dunsing, announced the company’s plans to roll out its food scrap diversion program. The program calls for all 25 Jewel-Osco stores in DuPage County, include the two Elmhurst locations, at and at , to compost food scraps.

“Food-scrap composting has been a goal of Jewel-Oscos for quite a while, as we are committed to achieving zero waste in our stores,” he said in a prepared statement. “The project shows our commitment to protecting and preserving the environment, which is important to many of our customers.”

He made the announcement May 15 during the county’s Commercial Composting Stakeholders meeting. DuPage County’s alliance with Jewel-Osco will help the county meet its goal of diverting 40 percent of the county’s commercial waste from landfills.

Dunsing worked with DuPage County staff to coordinate the logistics needed for Jewel to launch this program.

“DuPage County’s vision and leadership has been a key component in helping us get this project started in our stores,” he said in the statement.

After several conversations with other businesses and local universities regarding food scrap composting, DuPage County decided to host a stakeholders meeting. About 70 people attended, according to a news release. The participants ranged from waste haulers and composting sites to colleges, hotels, grocery retailers, restaurants and food service companies.

Environmental Committee Chairman Jeff Redick of Elmhurst (County Board, District 2) said the county hosted the meeting to bring the stakeholders together to develop solutions to divert more natural resources from landfills.

“DuPage County continues to pursue green initiatives that are both environmentally and fiscally responsible,” Redick said. “To successfully and effectively implement these initiatives, we recognize the role we play in bringing together stakeholders to create synergy in developing composting solutions. Instead of working independently, it is important for the county to bring together the many moving parts of the food waste industry.”

DuPage County has a goal of 100 commercial locations composting food scraps by June 2013. Redick said the county will continue to work with businesses and waste haulers to develop commercial composting routes and help create a market for the end product of soil amendment.

“If we continue to dispose of waste at today’s rate and our regional landfills don’t make adjustments, they will reach capacity in only 14 years,” said Redick. “Something needs to be done, and food scrap composting is one way of diverting a lot of waste from our landfills.”

Redick said more needs to be done to educate the public and change the perception of waste as a resource instead of trash. For example, glass, paper, food scraps, metal and plastics are all recyclable or compostable, and can easily be diverted from our landfills and reused in some manner. The benefits of food scrap composting range from enriching the soil to preventing pollution and reducing soil erosion and turf loss. Compost is used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture and agriculture as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.

Jewel-Osco already has implemented its program in 16 stores. Three of these stores, located in Bloomington-Normal, recently succeeded in diverting at least 90 percent of waste from local landfills, which Dunsing calls “a major milestone in the journey to achieving zero waste.”

For more information on how businesses can join the food scrap compost discussions, contact DuPage County environmental projects specialist Shefali Trivedi at 630-407-6771 or shefali.trivedi@dupageco.org.

Jim Parks May 29, 2012 at 01:12 PM
This is great news. Congratulations and thank you, Mr. Dunsing, for instituting such a worthwhile project. Jewel is to be commended.
Glenn May 30, 2012 at 01:21 PM
This is an awesome idea! I've seen so much produce being pulled off the shelves to be thrown out.

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