More than 17% 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 spent approximately $1,768,000 in 2017.
"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 landscapes," Waste Minimization Coordinator Ben Kreitner said.
In coordination with International Compost Awareness Week, May 5 to 11, the City of Columbia will offer several events for residents to participate and learn more about composting.
- Food Waste Drop-Off: This one-day collection event allows residents to drop-off food waste into a designated compost container Tuesday, May 7 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at Capen Park, 1600 Capen Park Drive. See specific instructions below.
- Composting Workshops: The City will host two free composting workshops Saturday, May 11 at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the Columbia Farmers Market, 601 Business Loop 70 W. Registration is recommended but not required.
- Compost Operations and Recycling Tour: Residents may take a tour of the City's commercial composting operation and the Material Recovery Facility Saturday, May 11 starting at 10 and lasting until 11:30 a.m. Those interested in attending should meet in the parking lot in front of the Material Recovery Facility, located at the landfill property, 5700 Peabody Road. Participants should drive around the scale house and take the first right-hand turn. The Material Recovery Facility is the building on the right. Registration is recommended but not required.
Food Waste Drop-off Instructions:
Residents may store food waste in a bucket or plastic tub until the May 7 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. The collected material will be added directly 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 NOT be accepted at this time. Please do not leave food waste or any other trash material outside the collection container.