This is the fourth round of articles about Oak Park’s composting program. In this round, we discuss Clair Dolinar’s Aug. 19 Viewpoints letter, “Why not a communal composting program?” 

I agree with everything Dolinar said. She made three critical points: 

1. The benefits of composting are communal (a common good) so everyone should have the privilege to participate. [Everyone does not have to “own” a bin but everyone should have access to one, e.g. public bins/carts distributed throughout the village)] 

2. A successful and efficient composting program must have an educational component. 

3. An expanded composting program must be done in a cost-conscious manner. [What would be a “small fee”?] 

To quantify these points, we did a cost analysis using a simple spreadsheet. The objective is to determine the number of compost carts/bins for a variety of cost options. In the spreadsheet, we made the following assumptions: 

 There are two constants: the number of households (20,000), and the waste hauler’s monthly charge per compost cart ($15).

 There are two variables: the cost to every household (included with the water bill), and an annual cost for Maintenance, Monitoring, and Education (call it the MME fund). 

In the analysis, we varied the monthly cost per household from $1 per month to $15 per month. The MME fund was varied from $1,000 per year to $200,000 per year.

Results: If, for example, we choose a household cost of $5 per month and a $40,000 MME fund, the spreadsheet shows that the number of compost carts that could be distributed is 6,444.

For a copy of the entire report (Community Composting, A Service for Everyone) contact the Interfaith Green Network at

What you can do:

 Continue the discussion. Write the next article.

 Tell the Energy and Environment Commission, and the trustees that you are ready for the village to provide a community composting service.

Mac Robinet 

Interfaith Green Network

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