Are Kansans too trashy?

Landfill

The majority of what we throw away isn’t trash. Sure we occasionally throw something in the trash that probably could have been recycled – a glass bottle, a soup can, etc. (psst… we’ll pickup your glass recycling for about $1 per week) – but over half of what we throw away each week actually could have been composted.

A typical US household will produce about 4,150 pounds of garbage each year. In Johnson County, Kansas, about 56% of household waste is made up of organic waste materials such as paper products and uneaten food. That is a tremendous amount of spoiled leftovers, egg shells and paper towels sitting in the landfill, producing methane for decades, and nearly all of it could instead be converted back into organic soils and used to grow more plant-based products.

40 year old fast food wrapper. Credit: ABC 10 News San Diego

As a San Diego waste facility experienced recently, even relatively delicate things we throw away like newspapers and cardboard packaging can stay completely intact for over 40 years when buried in a landfill. In a home compost pile, they’d be converted to healthy, usable soils in 6 to 12 months. In a hot composting process like Food Cycle KC, we can turn it into usable compost in as little as 4 to 6 weeks.

Composting is the process of converting organic waste into nutrient dense soils. As shared in a recent blog, composting significantly reduces greenhouse gas production and increases agricultural yield (stuff grows better).

One of the great things about composting is that it is inexpensive with a service or even free if you do it yourself. Restaurants, coffee shops, and florists can even reduce their monthly waste management bill when they compost with Food Cycle KC.

Generally anything that was recently living can be composted; however, there are some things you should only compost with a service and not in your back yard.

At homeWith Food Cycle KC
Veggie scraps
Citrus fruit
All other fruit
Paper towels
Meat and fish
Dairy
Cardboard (e.g. pizza boxes)
Egg Shells
Coffee grounds
Grass clippings

We have a comprehensive list of what you can compost in your Food Cycle KC bucket, and of course you can always call or text message us when in doubt. By composting, a household of 4 people could prevent over 3,500 pounds of waste from being added to the landfill each year!

Credit: US Environmental Protection Agency

Want to see how it adds up? Put a large resealable container on your counter top, and put every bit of leftover food, paper towels, and spoilage from the refrigerator into it through the week or even just one day. Let us know how it goes – you can make a huge difference!

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