Reducing and diverting food scraps from landfills and turning them into compost are simple but effective ways to:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 
  • improve soil health, 
  • reduce soil loss, 
  • increase water filtration and storage, 
  • turn food scraps into a resource, and more.  

As such, the Village encourages residents, schools, businesses, and other organizations to reduce their food scraps and compost these materials as they can. Some options for doing that in the Village are listed below. 

Composting at home or in your backyard

Composting what you can in your backyard uses minimal resources to convert food scraps from waste to valuable soil amendment. Start small and be patient as you learn to compost. Stick with fruit and vegetable scraps and coffee grounds. Chopping them up will help them break down more quickly. A covered bin or tumbler works best to help keep animals out and temperatures up. Select a dry, shady, or partly shady spot near a water source for your bin. For every measure of food waste material (nitrogen/green) you put in your bin, add double or more that measure of landscape material (carbon/brown). It can be hard to find this much carbon material in your yard. Consider using peat moss as your carbon/brown material, which is readily available at local retailers and inexpensive.

  1. Residential Drop-Off Program
  2. Private Container Swap Provider
  3. Commercial Composting

Lakeshore Recycling Systems

Lakeshore Recycling Systems offers drop-off sites where residents may discard food scraps and organics collected at home in carts located throughout the Village. 

Residents may drop off food scraps and organics (see below for a list of acceptable materials) in 65 or 95 gallon containers located in the following areas: 

Carlton Washburne School
Bin location: on the north side of the school off Elm Street.Washburn composting location Elm StreetOpen 4 PM - 8 PM on weekdays. Open weekends.

Elm Street Station
Bin location: on the west side of the Elm Street Station tracks, south of the station building.refuse and composting binsOpen dawn - dusk.

Greeley School
Bin Location: on the north side of the school off Hawthorn.
Greeley composting locationOpen 4 PM - 8 PM on weekdays. Open weekends. 

Hubbard Woods Elementary School
Bin location: on the east side of the gym. Hubbard Woods composting location off BurrOpen 4 PM - 8 PM on weekdays. Open weekends.

New Trier High School
Bin location: on the west side of the school off Woodland Avenue.New Trier Bin location Trevian WayOpen 4 - 8 PM on weekdays. Open weekends.

Winnetka Congregational Church (725 Pine Street)
Bin location: North side of parking lot
Winnetka Congregational siteOpen dawn-dusk.

Please use these locations ONLY for compost drop-off. Yard waste is not acceptable at these sites. Learn about yard waste collection.

To schedule a special refuse collection, please call 847-716-3568.

Acceptable Compostable Materials at Drop-off Sites
  • Baked goods 
  • Bones
  • Breads 
  • Candy 
  • Cereal 
  • Coffee grounds 
  • Dairy products 
  • Egg shells 
  • Fish/seafood 
  • Flower/plant cuttings 
  • Fried food 
  • Fruits 
  • Grains and grain products
  • Meats 
  • Vegetables
  • Spices/herbs 
  • Sugars/syrups 
  • Cardboard (including pizza boxes)
  • Coffee filters 
  • Compostable bags that comply with the ASTM D6400 Certification
  • Egg cartons (paper/cardboard only)
  • Napkins
  • Newspaper 
  • Paper food packaging 
  • Paper towels and wrap
  • Sugar/salt/pepper packets 
  • Tea/tea bags (no staples) 
  • Untreated wood products/sawdust

Composting History in the Village

In April 2019, after considering presentations by New Trier students and the Environmental and Forestry Commission, Village Council tasked staff with exploring options for implementing a Village-wide food scrap collection and composting program. 

The “container swap” model initially was chosen as the best option for Winnetka to pursue (as opposed to a curbside program, a drop-off program, etc.). Multiple container swap vendors were contacted, three were considered, and two were ultimately chosen. Collective Resource Compost and WasteNot Compost were announced as preferred vendors in September 2019 and have offered their commercial composting container swap services throughout the Village since then to residents, schools, businesses, and other organizations and events.

In May 2022, Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS), the Village’s longstanding recycling hauler, extended its contract with the Village and expanded that contract to include food scrap and organics collection services. These services are offered to Village businesses through a cart-based model. Customer service and billing for these food scrap collection services are separate from Village refuse and recycling collection services.