Chicago's Compost Solution

Block Bins

What is Block Bins?

Block Bins provides food scrap recycling bins to Chicago residents.
Neighbors share the bins to reduce cost and clutter.

We want to help Chicagoans divert food waste from landfills. By sharing a bin with your neighbors, we save you money and keep your neighborhood cleaner.

Request a Block Bin »

How does it work?

Request Block Bin

Request

Chicago residents request a Block Bin for their block.

Fund Block Bin

Fund

We deliver a Block Bin that you and your neighbors can fund using our website.

Collect Block Bin

Collect

Collectors start taking food scrap to composting sites each week.

10/month

$10/month per household

A Block Bin costs $10/month per household. Most people generate 5 gallons of food scrap each month, so just pitch in $10/month for each 5 gallon bucket your household might fill.

Each Block Bin is locked with a 4-digit code that will be emailed to you when you sign up. You can see an example of a subscription page for a bin here.

Block Bin Lock

Advantages


SUSTAINABLE

Keep food scrap out of landfills

MAKE SPACE

De-clutter your alley

CLEAN

Reduce pests and keep your block cleaner



SECURE

Bins are locked to prevent
spills, stray use, & contamination

QUIET

Collectors come and go quickly

GREEN

Create healthy soil for Chicago

Share

Help your neighbors start composting

You can help your neighborhood become more sustainable.

In addition to requesting food scrap collection, you can support composting in Chicago by spreading the word.

Share Block Bins on social media:

Why Block Bins?

Unfortunately, landfilling in Chicago is cheaper and easier than composting. So there's no financial incentive for Chicago's waste providers to offer food scrap recycling.

Block Bins solves this problem by letting your block share a food scrap recycling bin. Compost collection is expensive for individuals, but inexpensive for multiple people on the same block.

As a bonus, since our recycling services are dedicated to one type of waste, Block Bins can recycle materials that current waste providers can't. You can expect more recycling services from us in the future.

Block Bins Logo

FAQ

Q: Why should I pay to compost?

A: You're going to love not having smelly garbage bins in your house. You can also save money on landfill fees.

Recycling your food scrap is one of the easiest ways to combat the major environmental issues we now face. We're importing food from across the world, and instead of creating compost with the scraps that can enrich our farmland and boost crop yield, we're creating greenhouse gasses by burying it in landfills.


Q: Will Block Bins attract rats?

A: No -- Block Bins reduces rats. Rats are a problem in Chicago's alleys because everyone's trash bin contains food. By collecting food waste in a single place, we eliminate food sources. This creates an opportunity to implement reinforced bins and pest eliminators, should they be necessary.


Q: Do the bins smell bad?

A: Generally no. Our aim is to service the bin before bad smells develop, so in the infrequent instance where the bin does begin to get too smelly, customers can let us know that it needs service. We also encourage participants to avoid adding any materials that would cause a smell.


Q: How do I join Block Bins?

A: Block Bins are locked with a 4-digit code to prevent contamination and unpaid use. After subscribing on the bins funding page, you will receive an email with the 4-digit code and instructions on how to compost.


Q: How does funding work?

A: You can subscribe to our bins on the subscription page for your bin. Here's an example of a subscription page. The 4-digit code to unlock the bin is emailed to when you subscribe.


Q: How many people need to participate for service to start?

We will still service your bin if you are the only participant. Your subscription will begin right away. A shared bin keeps your subscription cost to a minimum, so we set a goal of 6 participants for your bin to ensure it is financially sustainable in the long-term.


Q: How do I find the subscription page for my Block Bin?

A: On our homepage, click on a green map marker to get a link to the subscription page for that bin. Alternatively, you can submit a request for a new bin or to join an existing bin, and we will add you to an existing campaign on your block.


Q: What is the size of the Block Bin?

A: We use green 35 gallon bins (pictured here). They are like a miniature version of Chicago's standard trash and recycling bins.


Q: Where is the food scrap taken?

A: The material ends up at an industrial composting facility in Harborview on the south end of Chicago. It is laid into windrows that you can see on satellite view. The finished compost is sold to landscape companies and municipalities to create green spaces.


Q: How often is the bin picked up?

A: As much as necessary. Pickup frequency depends on the number of participants and temperature outside. For bins with just a few participants, we pick up on a monthly basis during cooler months. For bins with many participants, we service the bin bi-weekly, weekly, or even more as needed.

Customers are encouraged to email our team if a special pick up is needed for any reason.


Q: What happens if I move?

A: You can cancel your monthly contribution any time.


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