Environment Board Hosts – Public Input About Composting

The Evanston Environment Board and the Human Services Committee is seeking community input about composting guidelines, vis-a-vis rodent control.

There is some conflict between rodent control and composting, particularly open, on-ground composting:
• It is clear that rodents, if present, do eat food waste from compost if it is open and untended. Compost that is turned regularly and has appropriate moisture is not inviting.

• It is clear that rodents, if present, do use piles of garden debris (leaves, branches, firewood) for nesting. (They also use living ornamental grasses and perennials for nesting.)

• It is not clear that either open compost or piles of debris actually “attract” rodents. An improperly maintained compost area will serve as a contributing factor to rodent activity. Ensuring the compost area is rodent-proof is a successful way to prevent rodents from feeding or using compost materials.

• It is also clear that on-ground composting is more effective than above-ground composting. This is because of worms and microbes available from the soil.

Some questions might be:
Should the city have any control over composting on private property?
Should the city only advise homeowners about composting best practices?
Should the city only enforce guidelines if there are rodents immediately present at site in question?
What should enforcement look like? (Of course, first comes education, but then, Fines?)
Or should guidelines be enforced on all properties, regardless of current presence of rodents?
What about piles of leaves or twigs and branches?
Is it practical for Health and Human services personnel to map actual, current rodent observations?
So, what should our guidelines be?

We welcome your comments and experiences:
Come to the Evanston Environment Board meeting on
October 13 at 7 PM.
City Hall, Room 2402,

Or email your comments to: Noreen Edwards of the Environment Board at DesignGreenLandscapes@gmail.com

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