7700 East U.S. Highway 40 | 816-483-0908
Three times a week, a Missouri Organic truck stops by Eden Alley Vegetarian Café and picks up food waste and other material — the stuff that most restaurants consign to a landfill. "Our trash is virtually nothing," Greg Clootz, the restaurant's co-owner, says. "It's such a fantastic service." Missouri Organic's Food Residuals Environmental Division (FRED, for short) estimates that it kept 15,000 tons out of landfills in 2010. The food scraps are mixed with yard waste and recycled into nutrient-rich compost. Steam rises from the pile as the microbes get acquainted. A family-owned business, Missouri Organic has always been green, converting storm-damaged trees and other yard debris into mulch. But the company took it up a notch when it searched out area businesses willing to pay to have their food waste repurposed. Hallmark was the first. Today, that means compost made out of sausage casings, vegetarian taco fixings and Staley High School cafeteria detritus. Thanks, FRED.