Compost with GCM

Green City Market is committed to creating a more sustainable food system in Chicago from the shopping bag to the compost bin. We partner with Healthy Soil Compost to offer compost drop-off services for our community at our year-round farmers markets (GCM Lincoln Park, GCM West Loop, and GCM’s Indoor Market). 

How do I compost with GCM? 

    • Bring your own container. Many folks use a 5-gallon painter’s bucket, but any container you have on hand will work. 
    • Be sure to remove produce stickers, rubber bands, and any other non-organic matter from your scraps. 
    • Visit the GCM Info Booth at GCM Lincoln Park or GCM West Loop to pay the $10 compost drop-off fee. (You can compost up to 5 gallons of scraps for $10.) 
    • Empty your scraps into our compost bins, and take your container with you.
  • Please note, space is limited, so arrive at the market early if you plan to drop off compost! If our compost bins fill up, we will stop accepting drop-offs. 

Why should I compost?

    • Divert waste from landfills. Organic matter (a.k.a. anything that came from a plant or animal) makes up the largest part of what goes into our landfills. Between 30-50% of waste that ends up in the landfill could have actually been composted. 
    • Reduce greenhouse gases. Landfills are anaerobic environments (a.k.a. what goes into a landfill gets sealed off and decomposes without oxygen). When organic matter decomposes without oxygen, it releases large amounts of methane (a climate change-causing greenhouse gas). Composting is one of the best ways individuals can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   
  • Return organic matter and food waste back into the soil. When the composting process is complete, the “finished” compost looks like a rich, black soil. It’s an incredibly nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used in farming and gardening.  

What can I compost?

For a complete list of what you can and can’t compost, check out Healthy Soil Compost’s guide to composting (pro tip: print it out and tape it up on the fridge for quick reference). As a general rule of thumb, here’s what we can accept: 

  • Food scraps (items like produce stems, peels, eggshells, moldy bread, or animal bones)
  • Coffee grounds or tea bags
  • Non-glossy paper products (like paper towels) 
  • BPI Certified Compostable items (like coffee cups or other packaging). Be sure it says BPI Certified or you see the logo below. Branding can be misleading; “biodegradable” or “organic” doesn’t always mean compostable.    

Thank you to our local compost partner!

We reduce our carbon footprint by diverting food scraps from a landfill with Healthy Soil Compost, a Community Compost Program.  Start at home by visiting

We are proud to be recognized as a Gold Level Partner through Illinois Food Scrap Coalition's We Compost program. As a Gold Level Partner, we demonstrate the highest level of commitment to food scrap diversion by composting both pre-consumer and post-consumer food scrap. Click here to learn more.

Know your food, know your farmer
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2613 W. Lawrence Avenue

Chicago, IL 60625

(773) 880-1266

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