Composting Your Yard & Food Waste

What is compost?

Compost is food waste from your home and lawn leftovers including grass clippings, leaves, brush, garden scraps and other organic wastes.

What's the problem?

Food and yard waste account for about 30% of your household’s waste stream. When this large volume of materials ends up in the trash (landfill), it uses up valuable space and creates air and water pollution. Additionally, yard waste is banned from landfills in many parts of the Kansas City region.

Burning yard waste at home is also an unhealthy disposal method; it causes air pollution by releasing carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, poses fire hazards and is a nuisance for neighbors.

Dumping lawn refuse into the street causes a number of problems, as well. Piles of leaves purposely blown into roads can clog storm drains, contributing to street flooding risks. And when grass clippings and yard trimmings treated with chemical fertilizers enter storm drains, they are deposited directly into our streams and rivers, posing health risks to people, wildlife and the environment.

How do I handle it?

Instead of improperly trashing your food waste and lawn trimmings, consider these ways you can use the materials as a resource:

1. Make the most of compost!

Composting is a practical and convenient way to handle your lawn, garden and kitchen waste. It is a natural way of returning nutrient-rich plant matter to the soil.

Compost can enrich your flower and vegetable gardens, improve the soil around trees and shrubs and serve as a soil amendment for houseplants and planter boxes. More about composting at home»

2. Grasscycling

The best food for your lawn is your lawn! When you mow your yard, leave the grass clippings on the ground instead of collecting them for disposal. When done properly, clippings quickly decompose and return nutrients to the soil naturally.


  • Provides a natural lawn fertilizer
  • Saves time and effort bagging
  • Saves money on water, fertilizer, bags and disposal costs
  • Conserves water and protects waterways from runoff pollution
  • Conserves landfill space

How to grasscycle:

  • Cut grass when it's dry
  • Cut no more than one-third of the grass height at any one time
  • Cut grass with a sharp blade

3. Take it to a collection facility

Bringing your lawn and garden refuse to a community collection center is another way to divert useful organic material from landfills. Some yard waste drop-off facilities also offer residents opportunities to obtain mulch or compost at low cost. And after the holiday season, many sites also accept old holiday trees. Search RecycleSpot to find a center near you.

4. Arrange for curbside pick-up

A number of communities offer curbside yard waste collection in addition to regular trash and recycling services. Search by community in RecycleSpot to see if your city is one of them (and call to verify).

If you don't have municipal leaf and brush curbside collection, there are private companies that also manage lawn refuse. RecycleSpot includes a list of many providers; contact them to find out about the costs and procedures.

Where can I learn more?