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Community Hero: Rust Belt Riders

Welcome to BioBag’s new Community Heroes series! Each month, we will highlight community heroes that are making a difference in their communities and working to make their local environments cleaner and healthier.

This month, we are taking a look at the Rust Belt Riders!

Since 2014, Rust Belt Riders has been working with people and organizations across Northeast Ohio to provide them with a clean and timely alternative to landfills for food waste. Their services include commercial hauling, educational workshops, zero-waste events, and – coming soon – residential services. BioBag Associate Michael Downss spoke to Daniel Brown, co-founder of Rust Belt Riders. Their interview is transcribed below.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Daniel: Founded in 2014 by Michael Robinson and Daniel Brown, Rust Belt Riders began after toiling for more than two years on a pretty typical urban garden. The soil was highly compacted, denuded of nutrients, and this made growing herbs and vegetables a difficult proposition. When we weren’t working on the garden, our nights and weekends were spent at a farm-to-table restaurant. There, we saw how even businesses with the best intentions did not have a viable alternative to landfills for food waste. After raising some funds from friends and family members, Rust Belt Riders was born.

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Daniel: Rust Belt Riders serves businesses, organizations, and individuals all over Northeast Ohio. Clients can get in touch with us online, over social media, and regularly at community events and farmers markets where we are very active. Reach out to us today to start the conversation! 

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Daniel: We collect around 50,000 pounds of food waste each and every week. 

Please give us one fun fact about your business.

Daniel: For nearly the first year of our existence, all the food scraps we collected were collected by bicycle with a custom-made trailer attached to the back of it.

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Community Hero: Bootstrap Compost

Welcome to BioBag’s new Community Heroes series! Each month, we will highlight community heroes that are making a difference in their communities and working to make their local environments cleaner and healthier. This month, we begin with our friends at Bootstrap Compost!

Team Bootstrap

Bootstrap Compost is a leading compost pickup service operating throughout the Boston and Providence areas. As of today, their team has composted 5,252,959 pounds of organic material and counting! BioBag Associate Michael Downss spoke to Jonathan Nankof, the Director of Operations at Bootstrap Compost. Their interview is transcribed below.

What led you to start your composting operation?

Jonathan: Andy Brooks, one of our co-founders, was inspired to start what is now Bootstrap Compost in 2011 after he noticed that compost pick-up services existed in other regions, like in Vermont, but were completely absent in Boston. He wanted to make a difference in his community, and Bootstrap was born. Just under 10 years later, we know we are definitely changing the way the Greater Boston area deals with food waste. 

Who do you serve, and how can people get in touch with you if they want to start composting?

Jonathan: If you’re interested in getting started with Bootstrap, check out our website. There, you’ll be able to learn about everything we offer and you can tailor your pick-up schedule to your needs!

If you click on the “Services” tab at the top of our home page, you can select whatever type of compost pick-up you need: residential, office, restaurant, or even event if you only require a one-time bulk pick-up! From there you can select the frequency (either weekly or bi-weekly) and the quantity of your ideal pick-up. It might be tough to know exactly how much you will need right away, so you can add or remove buckets at any time.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, and we can get you into our delivery system right away. 

How much organic material do you typically take in on a weekly basis?

Jonathan: This January we diverted approximately 40,600 lbs of food waste from landfills each week! This waste is pulled from over 2,200 residential and 280 commercial accounts on a weekly basis. 

Please give us one fun fact about your business.

Jonathan: At Bootstrap we take pride in doing everything by hand! This includes manually dumping all of our collected food waste at our partner farms and hand washing and stenciling our own buckets. Our dedication to doing everything the right way started at the very beginning, when we relied on bikes with trailers to do our first compost pick-ups.

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of Community Heroes, please email us at marketing@biobagusa.com.


Grassroots Community Composters Gaining Momentum to Combat Climate Change

Community groups are taking action against global warming by collecting household food scraps and other organic waste for composting. Instead of dumping organic waste into landfills where it creates greenhouse gases, they are turning ‘waste’ into a resource to rejuvenate our soils through compost. To collect the waste, many people use compostable bags such as BioBag.

Food composting curbside collection programs served only 3.8 million of US households in 2015 according to US EPA, or 3% of 124.6 million US households. By 2017, less than 2% of US communities had municipally-backed food waste collection services according to Biocycle, a waste industry magazine. Yet, food loss and waste accounted for 8.2% of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 10% from road transport in a 2012 report by the World Resources Institute.

Bottom line: household organic waste in landfills is a major contributor to global warming. Instead grassroots organizations are turning the waste into compost to reduce methane emissions from landfills and enrich the soil according to the US EPA.

A group of people stand near a compost pile at Earth Matter NY
Composting at Earth Matter NY

Bootstrap Compost’s cyclists and drivers divert thousands of pounds of organic waste from landfills in the Greater Boston area weekly, and they have composted 3,640,737 lbs. of organic waste so far.

Common Ground/ Reclaimed Organics is a compost collection service for lower Manhattan residents & businesses, bringing food scraps by bike to local community gardens for composting. They process 1,500 lbs a month.

Compost Crusader in Milwaukee paved the way for municipal action. They got a city contract to provide collection services for an Organics Collection Pilot Study which diverted 358,000 pounds of organic waste from the landfill in the first year.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) provides an interactive Composting for Community Map of local composting services.

Earth Matter NY is a non-profit organization advancing composting in-and-around New York City. They compost 28,000 lbs. of food scraps monthly. Their Compost Learning Center on Governor’s Island teaches composting helped with funding by the NYC Department of Sanitation and smaller sponsors like BioBag, the compostable bag manufacturer. Earth Matter and BioBag made a series of videos showing how people use compostable bags, as an alternative to plastic.

A collection of compostable BioBags are filled with food scraps.

“We applaud the ‘bucket brigades’ and educators like Earth Matter,” says Jennifer Pope, VP Marketing at BioBag. “It’s a win-win. More people help the environment, learn the value of composting and are educated in how our compostable bags can be used to collect organic waste and compost more.”

Both Earth Matter and BioBag support the increasingly popular National Cultivating Community Composting Forum, May 11-14, 2019 in New York City. It will share best practices and build support for the composting movement.

BioBag logo

BioBag is the world’s largest manufacturer of compostable bags and films, made in the USA! Their liners have the highest renewable content in the industry. Unlike most other brands, BioBags are 3rd party certified home compostable and Non-GMO project verified.


Introducing a New, Refreshed BioBag Logo!

BioBag Americas, Inc. has launched a new company logo for the first time since its inception in 2002. The fresh design better reflects the direction of both the BioBag brand and the evolving world towards the improvement of recycling systems and initiatives to do better and do more with current resources.

The original logo, developed in the 1990s when the BioBag brand began, included an ear of corn because cornstarch was the major component of compostable bag and film technology at that time. With the updated logo, BioBag strives to stay authentic to their original branding elements while reflecting the fact that resin technology, used to create BioBag products, has since evolved to include a variety of crops.

The yellow segment of the ellipse in the new logo symbolizes the rising sun bringing life and growth to our earth, crops and soils. The faint arrow design symbolizes the circular economy in which waste, specifically organic waste, gets repurposed through composting and soil rejuvenation.

“The corn in our original logo was a visual representation of what made our compostable products different than traditional plastic products,” said Jennifer Pope, VP of Marketing. “A logo is one of the most important aspects of your brand identity, and brands need to evolve with the times, technology and consumer desires. Our refreshed logo mirrors what is happening in the world today and in our future with focusing on the importance of circling our current resources back into our world. The new logo embodies our products’ purpose and mission. We want our customers to know that the logo is just a visual refresh, but our products are the same ones you have come to trust and love.”

Consumers can look for all BioBag subsidiaries to refresh branding components and products with the updated logo in the coming months.