Approximately 17 percent of single-family homes compost in Oak Park. The good news is that this number has been growing at a faster rate since 2018. The not-so-good news is that this number just feels too low for our community. 

I asked a friend and neighbor who recently signed up to compost, what motivated her to do it? She said she has been thinking about it for years, has heard and read from experts about its benefits, knew that it was the right thing to do and at the end, it took a small nudge, a simple direct question from a friend: “Have you considered composting?” 

The answer was yes, she had and she realized she was ready to act. I think that there is guilt around the topic of being green, taking care of Mother Earth. All the “you should be doing this,” “you should be doing that” doesn’t put most of us in a good frame of mind. 

So I am going to turn that guilt on its head. Don’t feel bad for what you aren’t doing; feel good about what you are already doing. Maybe it’s using a reusable water bottle instead of plastic, maybe it is using reusable bags when shopping, maybe it is breaking down that box and recycling it, maybe it is not using straws, or maybe it is using glass milk bottles instead of plastic. Whatever it is, hold onto that feeling and try to build on it. 

I am confident that one day (maybe sooner than you think), you will have worked up to composting. Change is incremental. Let’s incrementally get there. I know we can bump that 17 percent up. Let’s feel good about being green. 

And if you are more of a numbers person, consider that it only costs about $15/month, you get an initial 3 months free if you sign up for a year (about a $46 savings), and you could split the service with a neighbor and only pay around $7.50 a month. 

Consider this your nudge.

Sharon Hermanns

Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!