By Christine Hill
What started as a response to a 1992 ban on yard waste in Missouri landfills evolved into an expansive business featuring compost, mulch and soil blends.
Missouri Organic Recycling makes its mark on the community with a 23-year-old tradition of yard waste diversion and unprecedented food waste recycling.
After the landfill ban, tree trimmers, landscapers and residents around the city had organic waste with nowhere to go. Dave Anderson, founder of Missouri Organic Recycling, took this as an opportunistic source of firewood to sell. He began composting mulch from the sticks and twigs that could not be used as firewood in the collected yard waste.
Today, Missouri Organic has a contract with local municipalities to offer free brush drop off every Saturday at two Missouri locations for residents of Kansas City, Grandview and Raytown. Yard waste, brush, tree trimmings, grass clippings, leaves and Christmas trees ($3 fee) are accepted and then composted for Missouri Organic bulk and bagged Nature Wise Compost. The compost then completes its cycle of reuse when farmers, gardeners, landscapers and cities purchase Missouri Organic compost to improve soil health.
“It creates an ecosystem in the soil that allows it to transfer nutrients from a non-soluble state into a state that the plant can use,” said Kevin Anderson, vice president of Missouri Organic Recycling.
Missouri Organic operations divert 150,000 cubic yards of yard waste each year from the landfill.
Annually, Missouri Organic also diverts more than 30 million pounds of food waste in the Kansas City area through its Food Residuals Environmental Diversion (FRED) program.
“It’s a natural progression for a compost business to start with yard waste and then move into food waste,” said Anderson.
FRED began in 2005 with a grant from the state of Missouri to build a better facility to compost food waste. Interested companies can request a free waste audit to determine potential recovery and recycling savings from composting food waste, soiled paper, plants and wood scraps.
“When we go to clients like Hyvee or Ball’s Food, they have a lot of materials that are going to the landfill, very consistently whether the dumpster is full or not. And they have a bigger economic incentive to switch to diverting that material because we can save them money, and they are getting to be green. Our goal is to be as competitive with the landfill as possible,” said Anderson.
More than 100 companies, schools and non-profit organizations use the FRED program including AMC Theaters, Hallmark Cards, Hen House Market locations, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Cerner, Kauffman Foundation, Sprint, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Ameristar Casino.
Missouri Organic Recycling is located at 7700 E. US Highway 40 in Kansas City. Brush and leaf drop-off sites are located at 11660 N. Main St., 1815 Chouteau Trafficway and 10301 Raytown Road.
Top photo: The Hallmark rain garden at Crown Center thrives on organic compost from Missouri Organic, completing the life cycle of composted food from its employee cafeteria. Photo: Rick Robson
This story is another installment in our current series featuring local businesses that are pioneering sustainability. Find more local green businesses on the Greenability Marketplace.
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