Prairie Village councilmembers approve voluntary compost-collection service agreements

Prairie Village residents interested in using a compost service will have two discounted options to choose from, Compost Collective KC and Food Cycle KC. Photo credit Alan Levine. Used under a Creative Commons license.

The Prairie Village city council last week voted to allow two local compost companies to provide curbside collection service for interested residents.

The council’s Tuesday action follows its June 2021 budget discussion where the council decided not to proceed with a citywide curbside compost and glass collection program that would have been paid for from the solid waste assessment fee on property taxes, according to council documents. The council instead directed staff to negotiate discounted rates for residents and businesses who want to voluntarily buy services from Compost Collective KC, based in Kansas City, Missouri, or Shawnee-based Food Cycle KC in exchange for the city helping to promote the services.

For residential composting services, both companies agreed to 30% discounts on their standard rates. Discounted monthly rates are as follows:

  • Compost Collective KC: $21 for weekly collection, $14 for bi-weekly collection and a one-time $10 deposit.
  • Food Cycle KC: $17.50 for weekly collection, $10.50 a month for bi-weekly collection and a one-time $5 one-time deposit. It also collects glass for $3.50 a month.

The city will promote the companies’ services on the city’s website and social media pages and in its newsletter.

Food Cycle KC also will collect compost from Prairie Village businesses at a 20% discount. The company’s commercial rates vary by business type and are based partly on the results of free waste audits it conducts.

Ward 3 Councilmember Tucker Poling asked whether customers could pick up compost from them. Compost Collective KC allows its customers to do that twice a year and will deliver it for a fee. Food Cycle KC makes deliveries at least once a year.

Food Cycle KC co-founders Alan Staples and Karen Ramsey and Compost Collective KC owner Meredith McAllister gave presentations to the council Tuesday about their services. Staples said food waste was the third-leading cause of greenhouse gasses globally — “a lightbulb moment for us.” He said the Kansas side of the Kansas City area had a “massive disparity” of community gardens compared to the Missouri side, which prompted him and Ramsey to start a company to reduce food insecurity and improve the environment.

Food Cycle KC provides 3.5- or 5-gallon buckets to customers to fill with food scraps and other organic waste, Ramsey said. It then collects the buckets, takes them to a Johnson County farm, processes their contents into compost and provides it to members and local community and school gardens. The company focuses on residential collection but also collects from restaurants, schools, daycares and other businesses. It educates children at schools and daycares about farming, composting and the food cycle.

Compost Collective KC serves mainly residential customers, and 43 percent of food waste comes from households.

The company gives each customer a 5-gallon bucket for food scraps, collects it weekly or every other week, cleans the bucket and lid and replaces the compostable liner.

“We take meat and dairy and paper towels and pizza boxes — all of it,” McAllister said.

McAllister said about 90 billion pounds of food went to the landfill yearly, “enough food to fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena every single day.”