In coordination with International Compost Awareness Week, the City of Columbia is offering a one-day collection event where residents can drop-off food waste from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8 at Capen Park, 1600 Capen Park Drive. The City will also host a free, on-site composting workshop at 6 p.m. the same day. Though registration is not required, it is recommended. Register at CoMo.gov. Please be a part of the solution and help divert this valuable resource from Columbia's landfill.
More than 17 percent of the material entering Columbia's landfill is food waste. In 2017, that equaled nearly 34,000 tons. The direct cost of disposing material into the landfill is $52 per ton, which means Columbia and Boone County residents have spent approximately $1,768,000 in 2017 when excess food could have been diverted to hungry families or local food production. If restaurants, schools, churches, offices and households would make a conscious effort to only purchase food that is needed and donate or compost what remains, it could reduce Columbia's carbon footprint, improve social equity and fertilize gardens or landscape.
Residents may store food waste in a bucket or plastic tub until the event and then empty contents into the collection container placed at Capen Park. Accepted food waste includes: fruits, vegetables, meat, bones, dairy, soups, sauces, bread, pasta, coffee grounds and other food items. Material will be added to the City's Compost Operation, so it’s important to exclude both plastic and paper products such as bags, plates, cups, utensils and other non-food items. "Certified Compostable" and "bioplastic" products will also not be accepted at this time. Please do not leave food waste or any other trash material outside the collection container.
While composting can be done at home, this event will determine if residents are interested in community composting, similar to the Recycling Drop-off Centers. The event will also help the Solid Waste Utility understand the benefits and challenges of offering a food waste collection site. Please remember that this is a one-day event and future collections will be determined by interest and success of this event.