Community Composting

Community Composting Pilot Program

The Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) has partnered with NeighborSpace on six small-scale community garden compost sites located throughout Chicago. Funded partially through a grant from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), as part of the Food Matters Initiative, and through Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Recovery Plan (CRP), the pilot locations are on NeighborSpace-protected community garden sites and will accept certain organic waste materials from area residents. 

The goal of the pilot is to demonstrate that organic material can be diverted from the waste stream by community residents at the local level and returned to productive use as compost to nourish the soil at the gardens. A three-bin compost system is provided at each location for processing organic materials. 

The six community gardens included in the pilot program are:

Stockyard Garden 

Community Area: New City

5136-58 S Carpenter Street

Chicago, IL 60609

El Paseo Garden

Community Area: Lower West Side

944 W 21st Street

Chicago, IL 60608

Merchant Park Community Garden

Community Area: Irving Park

4200 W Addison Street

Chicago, IL 60641

Hermitage Street Community Garden

Community Area: Englewood

Address: 5647 S Hermitage Avenue

Chicago, IL 60636

Fulton Street Flower and Vegetable Garden

Community Area: West Garfield Park

Address: 4427 W Fulton Street

Chicago, IL 60624

Montrose Metra Community Gardens

Community Area: North Center

4386 N Ravenswood Avenue

Chicago, IL 60640

Acceptable Materials For Composting

Accepted for Compost

Important: please cut or break everything into small pieces so that decay is accelerated!

  •  Fruit and vegetable scraps, 
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds (and paper filters)
  • Teabags

Not Accepted for Compost

  • Produce stickers, twist-ties, food clips
  • Meat
  • Bones
  • Dairy products
  • Cooking oils

 El Paseo Community Garden


Community Garden

How to Participate

The composting operations will be managed by compost stewards from each garden, and the opportunity to participate in the pilot program will first be made available to the gardeners at each location. Once education, best practices, and routines for accepting food scraps from the gardeners have been established, participation will be open to nearby residents not affiliated with the garden. 

The start dates for accepting food scraps will vary for each location.

Anyone interested in participating in the Community Composting Pilot Program should complete this interest form

Please contact NeighborSpace at for more information.