The Healthier Planet
Did you know nearly half of your garbage is food?
Did you also know that food waste could be separated from your trash, picked up at your curb, and then turned into nutrient rich compost?
If you answered “no” to those questions as I did, then the group, Compost Collective KC, has made its point. Started in 2017 by Meredith and Kyle McAllister, Compost Collective KC is an effort to keep tons of items out of landfills, easing the burden on the planet. “We were frustrated by some of the decisions our political leaders were making, so we got together with a few friends over drinks to figure out how we could make change on our own,” Meredith McAllister shared. “We had been subscribers of a community composting service in another city, so knew this was something that could work. We also felt that Kansas Citians would be interested in a curbside composting service, so we went for it and launched a pilot in our neighborhood!”
From the pilot program, Compost Collective KC has an impressive record of growth. To date, the group has diverted 160,000 pounds of food, or 80 tons, from landfills. And, they’re not done yet. “From a curbside collection standpoint, we hope to keep expanding our service area and making composting accessible to everyone in the KC metro. Beyond that, we want to educate the community on food waste-how to reduce it, why composting is important, and help people understand that small actions can have a big impact,” McAllister commented.
I asked McAllister how it works. After signing up at compostcollectivekc.com/signup, a subscriber receives a five gallon bucket with a liner and lid. You fill it with your food scraps (banana peels, meat and bones, paper towels, etc.), then set your bucket at the curb either every week or every other week, depending on your subscription. We then swing by, collect your food scraps and clean your bucket, give you a fresh liner, and you’re good to go! We try to keep composting clean and convenient for our members,” McAllister said.
And, why is composting important? Well, consider these facts.
~ 25% of the 167 million tons of garbage that ends up in landfills each year is food waste.
~ Because food waste in a landfill decomposes without oxygen, it generates methane gas.
~ Food waste that decomposes as compost has access to oxygen because it is regularly turned and aerated. As a result, it releases carbon dioxide. Methane gas absorbs heat from the sun, warming our planet at rates much higher than those of carbon dioxide.
Not only is composting good for the planet, it’s good for Compost Collective KC’s customers as twice a year the group provides up to 25 pounds of compost to all who’ve signed up for their service. They even offer discount pricing for bulk compost. McAllister says seeing the program grow and knowing they’re making an impact is gratifying. “The most satisfying aspect are the subscribers who had no idea about composting or the impact they could have who end up being some of our biggest advocates. That feels good and gives us so much hope for the future of composting and our community,” McAllister shared.
Compost Collective KC, is coming to your curb soon if they haven’t already arrived.