Ways to reduce food waste

A trash can with composted food scraps in it

Each year we throw away over 50 million tons of food in the United States alone and in Johnson County, food waste makes up roughly 26 percent of what is going into our trash.

“Organic material like food waste is one of the largest portions of our waste stream as well as being one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane,” explains Eric Nelson, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

Eliminating food waste takes more than composting. Donating usable food, meal planning and avoiding overbuying can all help. Below are ways that you can reduce your food waste.

Backyard composting

Turn your food waste into usable compost. There are many types of compost bins, whether you make them yourself or buy one at a hardware store. Johnson County K-State Extension has resources that can help you start composting today.

Composting options in Johnson County

Backyard composting isn’t for everyone. Try one of these other composting options:

  • Compost Collective KC: Collects food waste from households, businesses, apartments and has a bin swap program. Goes to Urbavore Urban Farm, where it is processed into compost. compostcollectivekc.com
  • Food Cycle KC: Collects food waste from households, businesses and special events. Processed into compost on their farm. foodcyclekc.com
  • KC Can Compost: Collects food waste from individuals, businesses and special events. Also offers drop-off locations. kccancompost.com

City of Olathe

Olathe residents can now take food waste to the City of Olathe Yard Waste drop-off location at 1100 Hedge Lane. Goes to Missouri Organic Recycling for composting.

Missouri Organic Recycling

Collects food waste from businesses and larger-scale food-waste sources. Works with the Chiefs, Royals and Shawnee Mission School District. missouriorganic.com

School composting

Several school districts are composting as well. Shawnee Mission School District has done a fantastic job and has food waste collection in all their school lunchrooms. Gardner School District started a similar program and will be expanding it this school year to include more schools. Schools in Blue Valley and Olathe are also looking into composting options.

Interested in learning more about these options? Please contact Brandon Hearn with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, brandon.hearn@jocogov.org or 913-715-6936.