To continue the discussion about Oak Park’s composting program [Why composting is so important, Viewpoints, Aug. 5]:

Household participation is only about 20 percent? If based only on those who sign up for compost bins, that may understate participation, as neighbors do dump their compostables in others’ bins. I myself use a neighbor’s compost bin with their permission. (They declined my offer of some money to defray fees but I give them a year-end thank-you gift.)

The benefits of composting are communal, so why not have 2 or 3 public 96-gallon bins in each alley, or have a program to promote sharing bins? The latter also could be an informal way to teach about correct composting practices. When I asked my neighbors what were the guidelines, they directed me to the Oak Park Public Works website ( 

I’ve observed loose waste thrown into bins, or much worse — bagged in ordinary plastic bags, which defeats the purpose of composting. Composting proponents must educate users on proper protocol as part of their efforts.

An expanded compost program would mean spending more money; it’s a matter of how and how much. Prominent proponent Mac Robinet seems to be hedging his bets from a slick opt-out program to traditional fee imposition, that “for a small fee” we can have a “compost for all” program. So just how “small” would this small fee be?

If we’re to encourage and expand composting, let’s do it effectively and in a cost-conscious manner.

Claire Dolinar 

Oak Park

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