#160 Kitchen Scrap Composting in Boston

OK, I confess. I don’t compost these days. I’m not proud of that because we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Peels, cores and the bits that hide themselves in the back of the refrigerator until they turn into a fuzzy, oozing, green mass – they all go into the garbage chute just around the corner from my 10th-floor unit.

For years I lived on a farm, where all that organic matter helped enrich our soil. When we raised pigs, they turned everything into the blackest, sweetest smelling dirt. Their combination of hearty appetites, non-stop rooting, and endless search for succulent morsels made them the ultimate composters.

Now I live in condo. I could carry a heavy, wet bucket four and a half blocks and add my compost to the piles in the community garden. I could, but I don’t. And I refuse to drive there because that defeats the purpose by increasing my carbon footprint in another way.

Bootstrap Compost, I need you! Most of us do, and I hope one day Andy Brooks will have franchises in every municipality that hasn’t started an organic-waste composting scheme.

Since January 2011 Brooks has operated the only kitchen scrap pick-up service in Greater Boston. The one-man company grew out of desperation. Two years of pounding the pavement in a search for work left him with worn shoe leather but no job. It was not for want of trying. So he decided to pull himself up by his bootstraps and start a recycling business.

He cycles around the city, picking up 5-gallon buckets of kitchen scraps, leaving behind cleaned, empty buckets. For a mere $8 a week, Brooks makes Boston-area folks feel virtuous about tossing out their banana peels and pizza crusts. He even has bi-weekly and monthly plans for people who travel a lot or don’t cook much.

Weeks after Brooks picks up a customer’s first bucket, he delivers some rich compost to them. It doesn’t get much better than that.

You can learn more about Bootstrap Compost by checking out the Extra!! Extra!! link on his Web site or following him on Facebook or Twitter.


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