Q4 newsletter

Q4

As the 4th quarter of the draws to a close, we're working to provide a larger range of services. This year, we've offered zero waste event services and handled a total of 7 food-related events. I'm very proud of all we've accomplished, and will be publishing our yearly totals next month. 

Wholesale Distribution of Compostable Goods

Looking forward to next year, I've brought Korey Findley onboard as a sales manager to help me work on the possibility of becoming a distributor for compostable products for the Hudson Valley. This is a great opportunity to get event organizers the compostable goods they need locally at great prices. Most distributors in our area don't carry these goods, and there is a growing need for them. We're planning on sharing our pricing with local businesses that are already using compostable products to see if we can help them drive down their costs. For the businesses that are not yet using compostable to-go products, we want to help them make the leap with a combination of education and the added service of compost pickups. In this way, it's a comprehensive plan to distribute the goods and pick up the used goods for compost. There's absolutely no point in having customers use compostable products if they're not being composted, as 65% of our waste gets incinerated in Dutchess County and the rest goes to landfills where these materials don't break down. The other issue is that bioplastic compostable goods don't easily break down in backyard compost bins, particularly not when thousands of them are added at once. This is why we need these materials to go to a compost facility that consistently gets up to high heat to ensure breakdown.

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As some of you may know, handling weekly compost pickups via cargo bike in Beacon has been my dream for 5 years, since I got together with Jon Miles of Peoples Bicycle. Our two cargo bikes are equipped with electric assist systems, and are primed to haul hundreds of pounds of material. Our little city that's 5 miles square is a perfect place to implement this program, and I've got a team of riders pumped about this. Haulers have been unable to rise to the occasion of picking up regularly - until now. I'll be announcing the hauler and details on the compost pickup program as details develop. 

 

Events

We've had strong year of events, and have learned so much while handling the materials for thousands of people with our growing team of zero waste educators. We look forward to expanding the team, and adding a vendor management division to ensure that as much material as possible is captured and recycled/composted. Working with my event manager, Atticus Lanigan, we'll be adding more structure to our internal practices across the board. I'll be working with Dan Weise and Kalene Rivers of Thundercut, along with Fabhaus, both in Beacon, to develop signage and branding. I'll also be getting more press out there with the help of photographer Ethan Harrison, who took some really excellent photos and video of our last event -Sheep and Wool, the biggest event of our year!

It's of the highest importance to get events scheduled for 2015 now, so we can start planning with vendors. If mostly compostable products are being used for an event, we'll have very little waste, and that's the best thing for the public to experience firsthand. We want to spread the word that zero waste events work! 

 

Ongoing Projects

This year in Beacon, we did a compost pickup pilot program with Main Squeeze Juice Bar and Drink More Good. Together, they generated 215 gallons of material that I hauled to an 02 Compost system at the Sargent-Downing Garden.

With Scenic Hudson at Long Dock, we emptied the garbage and recycling cans three times per week, sorting through the trash for recyclables. It was a total of 51 bags of trash and 36.5 bags of recyclables. We found that mostly everything that was in the recycle bin did indeed belong there (with the exception of an occasional dog poop bag!), but nearly half of what was in the trash was recyclable. Using the cargo trike, we easily handled this work with zero emissions and an eye-catching bike that the public loved to see out and about. Many conversations were started about the bike, our company, and the reasons why we were sorting through the trash. 

The community came out to volunteer for the Riversweep in May, organized annually by Riverkeeper. We had over 30 people helping clean up Denning's Point, where we collected 47 bags of material and 18 wheel & tires, 3 pickup trucks full of scrap metal and styrofoam, 1/2 trailer full of large rigid plastics, and 1 TV. We separated the recyclables from the trash, and were left with only 17 bags of trash. It's always worth it to go the extra mile to get these recyclables to the right place and avoid landfilling them.

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More frequent news will be posted to the blog, so keep checking back for updates. Thank you for your support!

Towards Zero Waste,

Sarah