By Sara Mack Communications Intern at Bootstrap Compost, Inc.
This was my second week at Bootstrap Compost. So far, I’ve learned a LOT about the ins and outs of composting, and what makes it such a feat. Trust me when I say composting, on a scale as large as our team does, is not for the faint of heart. I don’t care who you are, lifting approximately 40,600lbs of food waste every week is a pretty big task to conquer, but Bootstrap Compost is lucky enough to have a crew passionate enough to take it on. Even though it’s tricky, I also learned why what we do is so crucial (Check out my blog post about what makes compost so important in today’s society here!). In this post I’ll outline my first day at the warehouse to give you an inside look into how Bootstrap runs each and every day! A lot goes into producing a bucket of nutrient-rich black gold…
My day started at 8:45 am when I arrived at the warehouse. It was much cleaner than I expected, especially considering the sheer quantity of decomposing food waste that passes through these doors each day. I was immediately shown how to change a bag liner in one of the buckets getting sent out for pick up, and before I knew it bins were being loaded onto the truck for our crew’s first farm run of the morning. On a traditional day, Team Boot makes between 1 and 3 trips to their main partner farm, which is located in Saugus.
On my first day with Bootstrap, I was granted the privilege of making the first farm trip of the day with some crew members. Cruising along the busy highway, and finally bouncing our way down the dirt road leading into the farm, I was unsure of what my farm experience would entail. Even though I grew up composting informally in my backyard, and I spent my years of undergrad working to find low-cost composting hacks fit for a college kid, I had yet to experience composting on a large scale.
As it turns out, there are quite a few differences between large-scale “Bootstrap Style” compost, and the most common types of backyard compost. A whole blog post will be published focusing on these differences soon, but the most relevant difference is the most obvious; more food scraps = more compost at the end of the cycle. I spent my time on the farm marveling at the growing hill of decomposing organics, well on its way to becoming some of the best soil amendment in the Greater-Boston Area, and recording my experience through a series of videos, notes, and photos. Although the smell was stronger than I remembered from inside the Bootstrap warehouse, it was still much less potent than you would imagine from what is essentially a pile of decomposing waste thanks to some hard working microbes.
After we got back from the farm it was time for a quick lunch and a few meetings before I was whisked away on my next adventure. After loading a Bootstrap van with empty buckets, it was off to the clean-bucket-delivery races! If you’re new to Boot Nation, everyday our drivers make their rounds throughout the Greater Boston area, replacing full compost buckets with clean and freshly lined ones! I had the chance to accompany Stom on his rounds that afternoon.On my ride-along I learned how drivers for Team Boot safely park the van and make their bucket swaps, directly on customer’s doorsteps, in record time. Stom even showed me his revolutionary method of bungee cording his bucket stacks so they won’t roll around in transit!
After our time together on Stom’s route my day came to an end, and I was left to reflect on a great day doing, what seems like, almost heroic work. Even though it may not always be glamorous, Team Boot works every day to help the Greater Boston area feel a little bit cleaner, and that is the kind of work I can get behind. Even though my journey with Bootstrap is only just beginning, I already know that I am becoming a part of something special. Composting is extremely important, both to our community and to the earth on a much bigger scale, and I commend all of you, as members of Boot Nation, for recognizing that and joining our fight to make the world a more sustainable place — even if reading this blog post is your first step in that direction.