Group diverts Backlot Bash waste from landfill

September 18, 2019 10:53 AM

After Village of Skokie Trustee Karen Gray-Keeler saw the work that Collective Resource, Inc., (CRI) was doing at an Evanston street fair, she suggested that Skokie’s Backlot Bash organizers reach out to the local food scrap recycler to gauge interest in their working at Skokie’s biggest event. The answer was a quick “yes.”

At the annual three-day August event, Skokie Park District park services staff ordinarily would simply move all trash to a large dumpster and move recycling to a blue dumpster. This year, however, most of that waste was taken to the CRI tent in the middle of the Bash grounds, where CRI associates and Skokie volunteers separated organic food waste from all other waste, including recyclables. They also educated event-goers about composting and waste reduction.

“Given the thousands of event attendees, the number of available sorters, and the fact that this was a new process for the Backlot Bash, the percentage of waste we handled is pretty impressive,” said CRI’s zero waste event coordinator Grace Hahn.

CRI now reports that .74 tons (1,480 pounds) of organic waste was diverted from the landfill, and is sitting in a compost row waiting to become healthy soil. In addition, an entire dumpster full of clean recycling was hauled off by Lakeshore Recycling.

“We were thrilled with the success of CRI’s service at the Bash. It was carried out efficiently and professionally,” said Backlot Bash organizer Michelle Tuft. “And, CRI’s work fits the Skokie Park District’s mission perfectly, as we strive to be local leaders in environmental stewardship.”

CRI already has plans to improve the efficiency of the process at next year’s Bash.

For information about CRI visit For information about green initiatives at the Skokie Park District visit

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