Compost company explains the why behind their work
- Posted by Main Street Staff
- On July 12, 2020
- 0 Comments
We recently interviewed our partners at Reclaimed Organics in NYC. We wanted to know more about composting and how it benefits the planet.
Reclaimed Organics goes the extra mile in eco-friendly efforts, by using the Main Street PedalTruck to transport their compost with a reduced carbon footprint.
MSP: Composting is great for the environment, we want to know more! How does composting benefit our planet?
RC: Most of us know that recycling is important because it respects and values the embodied energy of the materials that are being recycled, rather than requiring the mining of more natural resources. Composting is no different! By composting and recycling organic matter, we allow the nutrients and biodiversity locked up in our food scraps to be broken down and eventually returned to our soils. And our soils need it – we’re living through global soil crisis!
Across the globe, we have lost nearly half of our most productive soil to issues including deforestation, pollution, erosion, and more. We need soil to grow food… and while adding organic matter back to soils in the form of compost will not solve the entire problem.., the addition of compost will help to slow and even reverse some of the damage we have caused in our recent past.
To take this back to the individual level, composting is also a small daily action that everyone can take to participate in building solutions to slow climate change. With the firehose of information coming at us, we all have personal mountains of behavioral change to climb, and it’s so hard to know which first step to take! Everyone eats, and therefore everyone produces food scraps. In areas where individuals have access to composting services, including drop-off programs and pick up services, composting is an immediate and relatively simple way to start.
MSP: How does Reclaimed Organics make composting convenient for people?
RC: Reclaimed Organics is a cargo-trike-powered compost pickup service. We collect food scraps from residents and businesses in Manhattan, and ensure that the food scraps are composted locally, either by our own hands in our community garden, or by professional composters in the City and region.
Education is a huge part of what we do: we offer signage to all of our customers and conduct trainings with our commercial business customers to be sure that staff not only understand what to compost, but can grasp *why* this small action is so important.
MSP: What was Reclaimed Organics inspiration to get started, and how did the business begin?
RC: Our founder Laura Rosenshine launched Reclaimed Organics in late 2014 after she transitioned from a corporate career track to one focused on organics recycling, waste diversion, and sustainability. Laura and the early Reclaimed Organics and Common Ground Compost programs were lucky to have their home based in a neighborhood middle and high school garden space that was underutilized. Laura connected with the school and offered to continue the student compost education programming (launched by Earth Matter) in exchange for access to the space. A suite of community-scale zero waste services grew out of demand Laura was seeing from local businesses, and the growing Common Ground Compost team worked to build greater community engagement in the space, including helping to re-launch a formal community garden.
The zero waste services included pickups of compost from a handful of food scrap producers including residents, cafes, and a food photography studio, which Laura and one team member did on her own bicycle with a small trailer: this was the sprout of Reclaimed Organics. Common Ground Compost‘s zero waste consulting services also began at that time, with Laura helping food businesses and event producers to build, launch, and operate organics diversion and recycling programs in their unique environments.
MSP: What’s your favorite part of working with Reclaimed Organics?
Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli- Director: My favorite thing about coming to work every day is the team: we have a truly special group of individuals who are capable of taking on their own tasks and projects, and also coming together to collaborate, which allows our company to adapt to new and interesting challenges as they arise. Every day is different!
Jonas Schaller- Pedal Truck Micro Hauler, Fleet Manager & Compost Ops Director: I love that we’re taking tangible hands-on actions to do good for the environment and our fellow NYer’s, day after day. It’s a great joy to work outside, rain or shine, and to experience NYC at 10 mph.
Arianna Cooper- Zero Waste Events Manager: Reclaimed Organics is the perfect mix of bike lovers and soil enthusiasts. I love working with people who care deeply about food regardless of its stage of life. My favorite part is hearing back from the daily routes. I believe each route is a mini adventure around the city!
Michael McAllister- Pedal Truck Micro Hauler & Processor: I’ve spent decades struggling to make a living in hourly wage jobs. This is the first time I’ve felt like it was making a positive difference in my life and others.
Gwen Ossenfort- General Manager & Pedal Truck/Foot Route Micro Hauler: As a hauler, I loved being outdoors on a cargo trike in Manhattan all day (all year round), walking into offices and being treated like a rock star, collecting food scraps and knowing it was being diverted from the landfill, being stinky and righteous at the end of the haul ~ totally the best buzz ever. We are continuing to learn how to build a company in a very unique market. Our small and brilliant team is versatile and able to pivot and adapt quickly. It’s my dream job.
Peter Nicholson- Pedal Truck Micro Hauler & Processor: I get to make a real impact in what enters the landfills, in a way which promotes alternatives to fossil fuels, while advocating for non-ICE vehicles
William Klimpert- Lead Systems Analyst, Foot Route Micro Hauler: My favorite part of working with Reclaimed Organics is our community of knowledgeable, supportive, and soil-loving environmentalists that always encourages us to make a positive impact with our work!
Jo Mispel- Liaison Operations Aggregation Manager & Foot Route Micro Hauler: I started working with Reclaimed Organics/CGC because I want to be part of a regenerative future, and composting is a massive piece of that. I stay working with Reclaimed Organics/CGC because I love my fellow workmates; passionate, nimble, hardworking advocates for a better tomorrow. This is important work and I feel proud to be a small part of it.
Thanks for your time, Reclaimed Organics!