OLATHE, Kan. – Olathe, Kansas, is testing a new program that could reduce the amount of trash it collects and has to pay to take to landfills.
Seventy-five Olathe families keep their food scraps out of the trash and instead throw them into the city’s recycling facility in a special compost bin.
Missouri Organic is collecting the compost, processing it, and returning the composted soil for residents to take.
“We had a birthday party a couple of weeks ago, so we have all kinds of tomato and fruit stalks that we couldn’t use,” said Olathe resident Megan Comp.
His family got involved when they came across the concept of composting.
“I have a book that my kids read that talks about all the ways you can recycle, and we were reading it, I’m thinking, ‘Dude, I knocked this out of the park, we do this, we do it,'” Comp said. “And then we get to the composting section and I’m like, ‘I really don’t know anything about composting.”
That’s why he wanted to be part of the exclusive city-run program. Many municipalities have garbage and recycling programs for traditional waste and recyclable items such as cardboard, paper and glass.
Composting takes a few extra steps and costs Olathe $200 a month to collect, but Cody Kennedy, Olathe’s chief communications and marketing officer, says the city hopes to save money in the long run.
“The hope is that the amount of food waste that’s diverted from the landfill will reduce the tonnage taxes we pay in solid waste and be offset by partnering with Missouri Organic,” Kennedy said. “Food waste accounts for 30% of all solid waste, so it’s the next genesis for ensuring Olathe is a full-service community.”
Kennedy says the city hopes to open up the composting program to the rest of the city in the coming months.
“My son is four and so he makes comments like, ‘Let’s put the food scraps in the bucket so we can make some dirt,’ Comp said.
The Olathe program is for Olathe residents only. If you live elsewhere, you can compost through other private companies listed here: