Delta Institute presented the below statement before the Cook County Board with regard to the Patriot Acres LLC special use permit request.
Good morning, my name is Eve Pytel, and I’m a director at Chicago-based environmental nonprofit Delta Institute.
Delta Institute supports Patriot Acres’ special use permit request to operate an organic materials recycling facility, which will convert landscape trimmings and food scraps into compost.
Delta has researched local waste streams and analyzed the environmental and economic implications of current waste management practices, and we believe our region can reap significant environmental and economic benefits from better management of organic material.
Cook County residents generate more waste than the average American with Northern Cook County residents disposing more per capita than western or southern Cook County.
Organics are often the largest and heaviest portion of the waste stream. In Cook County, organic waste represents 38% of residential municipal solid waste and 29% of industrial, commercial, and institutional municipal solid waste.
Compost facilities are critically important to proper management of this waste stream.
From an environmental perspective, organic waste has a carbon footprint of 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent, thereby contributing significantly to global warming. Through increased composting, we can mitigate the greenhouse gas impacts and improve soil and water quality.
From an economic standpoint, proper management of this waste stream can also create jobs. Were Cook County households to divert 9% of their yard waste and 6% of food scraps, the County could create 6,500 new jobs, with 2,784 jobs in compost collection and 4,528 jobs in compost processing.
Because Cook County residents dispose of more waste than the average American and because organic waste is one of the largest and heaviest waste streams, this compost facility would provide a good starting point to improve our waste system and achieve environmental and economic benefits for Cook County residents.
Read Delta Institute’s research on waste and add your voice to the conversation using #transformwaste:
Roadmap to Sustainable Materials Management in Cook County
Waste Management: Unrealized Environmental & Economic Benefits for Chicagoland