Egg shells, banana peels, coffee grounds, stale bread, broccoli stalks, avocado skins – these scraps that wind up in our trash cans at home are considered food waste, which comes with a heavy carbon footprint. When food and other organics are thrown in landfills, they rot, breaking down anaerobically (without oxygen), and become a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Enter composting. Once reserved for eco-conscious homesteaders, composting has hit Springfield, Missouri’s mainstream thanks to the Springfield Compost Collective (SCC), a local organization committed to reducing organic waste. Now, thanks to SCC, composting is a cinch for home cooks and hospitality businesses alike.
SCC’s goal is two-fold: to spread awareness about food waste while offering residential and business compost pick-up services. SCC offers a business pick-up service for $50 a month, currently serving a variety of Springfield hospitality businesses including Van Gogh’s Eeterie, Cherry Picker Package x Fare, Bambinos Cafe, Team Taco and Prairie Pie. Beyond that, the organization works to educate the community through regular workshops and community outreach. SCC also works to promote sustainable business practices through its Green in Greene program, a designation that recognizes businesses that meet four SCC-designated criteria: composting, supporting a fair wage, recycling and buying local.
SCC was co-founded by Justine Campbell, who studied sustainable agriculture and plant science at Missouri State University. After spending time working on a permaculture farm in California, Campbell ventured back to the Midwest to launch SCC. Today, Campbell and her team offer bicycle-powered residential pickup for more than two dozen Springfield neighborhoods, with weekly compost pickup for participating individuals and neighborhoods at just $15 per month per household.
SCC has also installed several community compost bins throughout the Springfield area, making it easier than ever for eco-conscious individuals to minimize organic waste. With fall approaching, it’s also worth noting that SCC’s initiatives go beyond the kitchen, composting everything from porch pumpkins to bales of hay. A full list of compostable items are available on SCC’s website; in general, the only things that don’t fly are fatty materials like meat and bones or synthetics like plastics.