OLATHE, Kan. — Olathe, Kansas is trying out a new program that could cut down on how much garbage it collects and has to pay to haul to the landfill.

Seventy-five Olathe families are keeping their food scraps out of the garbage and instead dropping them off to the city’s recycling plant in a special composting bin.

Missouri Organic is picking up the compost, processing it, and returning composted soil for residents to take.

“We had a birthday party a couple weeks ago so we have all kinds of tomato stems and fruit items that we couldn’t use,” said Olathe resident Megan Comp.

Her family got involved when they stumbled upon the concept of composting.

“I have a book that my children have been reading that talks about all the ways you can recycle, and we were reading it I’m thinking, ‘Man, I’ve been knocking it out of the park, we do this, we do this,” Comp said. “And then we got to the section on composting and I’m like, ‘I know nothing about composting at all.”

That’s why she wanted to be part of the unique city-run program. Many municipalities have garbage and recycling programs for traditional waste and recyclable items like cardboard, paper, and glass.

Composting takes a few extra steps and costs Olathe $200 a month for collection, but Olathe Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Cody Kennedy says the city hopes it saves them money in the long run.

“The hope is that the amount of food waste that is diverted from the landfill reduces the tonnage fees that we pay in solid waste and is offset by the partnership with Missouri Organic,” Kennedy said. “Food waste is 30% of all solid waste so it’s the next genesis of ensuring that Olathe is a full-service community.”

Kennedy says the city hopes to open the composting program up to the rest of the city in the next few months.

“My son is four and so he makes comments like, ‘Let’s put the food scraps in the bucket so we can make some soil,” Comp said.

Olathe’s program is only for residents in Olathe. If you live somewhere else, you can compost through other private companies listed here: