Cost Effective Composting


2 days ago I tweeted the Kansas City government this…

can we get curbside compost/food waste bins added along to recycling bins per KC Green 2016 for public works improvement?

The response was…

We talked to a contact in Solid Waste and they said it is cost prohibitive to do that at this time.

So, I reached out to a city government of about the same size with a curbside composting program to find out how they made it cost effective and this is what I got from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability in Portland, Oregon…

Hi Mickey,
Thank you for your inquiry. It’s great that you’re looking for ways to bring curbside composting to your city. There are many factors which come into play when determining if a city service is cost effective. Cities have many different ways that they fund and administer curbside collection. Not knowing much about how Kansas City is set up, it would be hard for me to really give you an apples to apples comparison of costs. I can provide you information about how our system is set up and point you to some resources.
In Portland, our curbside collection is handled by private hauling companies operating in a franchised system. These companies directly bill and service the customers. We (the City) set the service rates and service options based on our calculations for the cost of service. We also use the service options in order to help reach material recovery goals set in our Climate Action Plan.
When we added food scraps to curbside compost collection in 2011 we were mindful of potential cost increases. This is one reason we switched garbage collection frequency to every other week from weekly. This meant that as we changed composting collection to weekly we ended up with the same number of collections per month as we had before.
If you want to see all of our curbside collection costs and how we set service rates see:
If your city has contracted waste services, you may wish to contact Renton, Washington for a more comparable program. If your collection is run municipally, Olympia, Washington may be a better system to research. Both of these cities have mature residential food scrap collection.
Good luck with your program.

I will update this post with future developments.


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