“Think before you throw” has been the mantra of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) since becoming an intergovernmental Agency in 1988. As a new year begins, SWANCC encourages residents to be more aware of what they buy and throw away, and that there are many ways to recover materials rather than sending them to landfill.
Food scrap waste heads up the list. In November 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that food is now the single largest type of waste going to America’s municipal landfills and incinerators.
- More than 33 million tons of food is wasted each year. When food is discarded in landfills, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
- Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food, an average of 20 pounds per person a month.
- Much of this wasted food is actually surplus, wholesome and edible food that could have helped those in need.
- Food waste makes up about 12 percent of what is thrown away.
To provide guidance for residents interested in composting, SWANCC developed a seven-minute video called Composting At Home. To learn more about backyard composting, tips for success and a composting guidelines packet, visit swancc.org/recycling/composting. View the video to the left of this article.
“Less is best,” Mary Allen, SWANCC Recycling and Education Director said. She encourages SWANCC-area residents to utilize the Agency’s programs and resources to become better, educated consumers and environmental stewards.
“Education is power, and together we can and will make a difference for future generations,” she added.
SWANCC also offers the following videos at youtube.com/SWANCC23: Recycling 101: The Do's and Don'ts, How to Get Rid of Paint and Household Chemicals and SWANCC's Programs for Special Materials.