Columbia News Service prominently featured the work of the Compostadores last week in “Green Trash Haulers Tangled in Red Tape.”
It was very encouraging to read about the work of our fellow bike composters around the country to keep pedaling on, despite the wheel-spinning frustration of bureaucracy. The Compostadores are still waiting for our official go-ahead from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for our year-long bike demonstration pilot program in partnership with the MN Pollution Control Agency. We hope to start on bike within the next month.
Other bike groups have struggled with manifold regulations, too, many of which were historically imposed to fight illegal agreements between haulers and illicit activities. As it turns out, the certification and legality of something as seemingly simple as hauling compost harkens back to the mob’s control of the trash business. In Manhattan, obtaining a bike permit for a small scale bike start-up is extremely costly – $5,000 – and requires additional $600 background checks for each biker.
Many of these problems stem from the fact that these small-scale grassroots projects are getting amassed in the same category as giant commercial composting sites, when in reality they’re a whole separate approach. The localization of our projects, the absence of meat and dairy products, and the small fleets of cyclists make them more akin to a network of well-orchestrated backyard bins than to giant landfills.
Happy first day of spring! We’re starting on our bin builds this week – contact us if you’d like to help.