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Oddly Correct Coffee Bar in Kansas City combats climate change through composting

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Posted at 11:01 AM, May 09, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From lattes, to espressos, to cold brews, Oddly Correct Coffee Bar in Kansas City, Missouri, has mastered the art of a cup of joe — but that morning jolt could be in jeopardy.

"What we do is really dependent upon the planet’s continued ability to actually grow coffee," Oddly Correct co-owner Mike Schroeder said.

Coffee is a fickle crop and grows best between 64 and 70 degrees. Recent studies have shown by 2050, scientists estimate that half of the world’s coffee-producing land will be too hot.

“The thing that we care so much about, and is our livelihood and what we are passionate about is threatened by climate change," Schroeder said. "So we decided we needed to take the steps that we knew we had to take to try and combat that."

That's where KC Can Compost comes in.

“For commercial businesses, they sign up online, we come out, we get them set up with KC Cans...we set up their operations and educate their teams," CEO and co-founder of KC Can Compost Kristan Chamberlain said.

Oddly correct has composted over 35,000 pounds of coffee grounds since 2019, as well as disposable items like napkins and cutlery.

But it’s not just beneficial for the businesses — anyone in the Kansas City area can get a compost bucket from KC Can Compost. Once it’s full just bring it to a drop-off location.

“What people aren’t aware of is when we send things like coffee grounds to the landfill ... they get buried and they decompose without oxygen," Chamberlain said. "It’s that process that creates methane gas, and methane is a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than CO2.”

When you hear the word "greenhouse gas" you may think of carbon dioxide, so what’s the difference? To put it simply, methane does its damage quickly, while CO2 does its damage slowly over a long period of time. Fast or slow, these greenhouse gases are warming the planet.

“We go to origin and talk to the people who are growing the coffee and they tell us what is happening," Schroeder said. "The rains are unpredictable, which means harvest is not as easy to follow, and it’s not as easy to pick coffee. So it’s becoming more and more difficult to produce coffee.”

From the middle of the globe to the middle of the country – climate change is moving through the supply chain — composting is a growing solution that can make an impact locally.

“When we began, we weren’t really sure where the community was in accepting sorta new green initiatives and that type of thing. And we’ve been widely surprised at the response of the Kansas City Community.”

KC Can Compost has partnered with 13 local coffee shops — you can find tips on how to start composting and if there is a drop-off location near you online.