Prairie Village approves residential compost and glass recycling agreements

Prairie Village residents wanting curbside pickup for glass recycling or compost now have several options to choose from. Photo credit Peat Bakke. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Prairie Village residents wanting curbside service for glass recycling or composting will have several city-approved companies to choose from.

The Prairie Village City Council voted unanimously last week to allow a compost-collection nonprofit and a residential glass-recycling company to provide their services to interested residents and businesses.

Westwood-based GlassBandit LLC and KC Can Compost, based in Kansas City, Missouri, will provide discounted services in Prairie Village starting this month in exchange for the city helping to promote their services.

GlassBandit’s customers can choose how much they will pay monthly for the company’s service, with a $3 minimum. The first month is free for customers who sign up by the end of next year. KC Can Compost will reduce its fees by 10% through the end of next year, and its fees will increase no more than 3% annually in subsequent years. Its commercial rates vary and are based on a free waste audit to determine how much waste a business produces.

The council on Sept. 8 allowed two other local compost companies to provide curbside collection service at discounted rates for interested residents and businesses. Compost Collective KC, based in Kansas City, Missouri, and Shawnee-based Food Cycle KC will also provide discounted service in exchange for the city promoting the services. The council decided at its 2021 budget discussion in June 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.

Councilors decided during 2021 budget discussions not to move forward with a citywide curbside compost and glass collection program that would have been paid for from the solid waste assessment fee on property taxes. Photo credit Ruth Hartnup. Used under a Creative Commons license.

GlassBandit owner Jamie Arnold started the company in 2014. The company did a 6-month pilot program with the city from February through June this year with 177 homes in all six wards. A survey after the pilot showed 145 homes participated, or 82%. The average usage rate on any given pickup day was 39%, which matched Arnold’s expectation and was typical for municipalities and homeowners associations, he said in an interview. The average usage rate jumps to 70% to 80% when customers sign up one by one.

The pilot program diverted over 9 tons of glass from landfills to Ripple Glass, based in Kansas City, Missouri, and eventually will be converted to fiberglass insulation, Arnold said.

Ward 4 Councilmember Piper Reimer said that when glass recycling was first offered in Prairie Village, one reason it did not continue was because of broken glass in the streets. She asked Arnold how often that occurred and how the company handled it. He said it happened infrequently, usually in the curbside loading zone. Employees look for it, clean it up and tell residents about significant spills.

KC Can Compost started operating in May 2019 and serves businesses and multifamily complexes. It first conducts a waste audit for a customer and then creates a customized service plan, Director of Operations Heather Nevarez said. It gives customers 64-, 5- or 1-gallon cans with compostable liners to put food waste in and trains customers to reduce contamination. The nonprofit has helped divert about 140 tons of food waste from landfills since it started its service.

Prairie Village is the first municipality to allow KC Can Compost to provide its services. GlassBandit works with several cities but is offering the first month of its service free only in Prairie Village.