Welcome to BioBag’s Community Heroes series! Each month, we will highlight community heroes that are making a difference in their communities and working to make their local environments cleaner and healthier.
This month, we are taking a look at KC Can Compost!
KC Can Compost is a nonprofit enterprise working to transform Kansas City’s social and environmental landscapes. Their mission is to collect organic waste and divert it from the landfill for composting and to educate and train men and women struggling to overcome barriers to employment for work in green industry jobs. We spoke to Executive Director Kristan Chamberlain about KC Can Compost, which you can learn more about in the interview below.
What led you to start your composting operation?
Chamberlain: Our original vision for KC Can grew out of a desire to create meaningful, living-wage jobs for people struggling with barriers to employment and to provide the Kansas City community with a valuable and needed service. We saw an opportunity in the middle market and created a clean and easy composting infrastructure that could be implemented across industries. Our system is designed to make it easy for local businesses, schools, hospitals, restaurants, shopping centers, retirement facilities, museums and more to manage their organic waste responsibly and easily. We also operate centralized neighborhood drop off stations that enable all residents to collect their food waste at home and easily divert from landfill.
Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?
Chamberlain: We service the greater Kansas City area and collect waste from small to large scale businesses and residents alike. Businesses can register on our website for a free waste audit. The waste audit helps us determine the quantity and type of waste that needs to be collected and helps us to create a collection system that works best for that organization and their space. Residents can register online and drop their waste off at one of our convenient drop-off locations as frequently as they need to.
How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?
Chamberlain: KC Can’s monthly diversion totals are growing rapidly, but we typically divert 5,000+ pounds a week.
Please give us one fun fact about you or your business.
Chamberlain: KC Can is not just an environmental enterprise, but it is also a social venture. We understand social justice and climate justice as one issue and exist to impact and improve both the social and environmental landscapes of Kansas City.
Feel free to add any additional information about your operation as you see fit.
Chamberlain: KC Can launched in May of 2019 and has grown rapidly throughout the region, despite COVID’s challenging impacts. Our bright orange KC cans are now seen across state lines (KS and MO) in cafes, restaurants, schools, museums, shopping centers, stadiums, and apartment and condo complexes. The Kansas City community is responding to the call for responsible organics management, and we are proud to be part of the community’s solution for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and creating meaningful jobs for those in need.
If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.