2015: The Year Bootstrap Learned to Tie Its Boots

By Igor Kharitonenkov, Co-Founder

It wasn’t long ago when Bootstrap Compost, serving just a couple hundred clients around town, was operating out of our backyards (Andy’s and my own), much to the chagrin of our neighbors. We did it all – collection, cleaning and delivery. At just 24 years young, I quickly learned the art of business negotiation; pizzas were exchanged and annoyances were quelled. When the going gets tough, buy them off with pie, I say.

2011 - Max cleaning buckets in the backyard.
2011 – Max cleaning buckets in the backyard.

Still, our little operation was bothering more than just our immediate abutters. With a garden hose running 100 feet from my third-story apartment down to the backyard cleaning station, the message was clear: “Sorry roommates, you’ll have to hydrate elsewhere.” And to think we cleaned outdoors. In the winter. In Boston. For that reason, we even managed to anger ourselves. To this day, I’m not quite sure how we pulled it all off were it not for Andy, Adam, Jake, Jonas, Everett, Max and those first few staffers who had the heart, humor, and courage to believe in our operation.

And they weren’t wrong to believe.

Much has changed since those early rug rat days and 2015 will always serve as the year we put on our big boy pants. For starters, (more…)

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2015: The Year Bootstrap Learned to Tie Its Boots

By Igor Kharitonenkov, Co-Founder

It wasn’t long ago when Bootstrap Compost, serving just a couple hundred clients around town, was operating out of our backyards (Andy’s and my own), much to the chagrin of our neighbors. We did it all – collection, cleaning and delivery. At just 24 years young, I quickly learned the art of business negotiation; pizzas were exchanged and annoyances were quelled. When the going gets tough, buy them off with pie, I say.

2011 - Max cleaning buckets in the backyard.
2011 – Max cleaning buckets in the backyard.

Still, our little operation was bothering more than just our immediate abutters. With a garden hose running 100 feet from my third-story apartment down to the backyard cleaning station, the message was clear: “Sorry roommates, you’ll have to hydrate elsewhere.” And to think we cleaned outdoors. In the winter. In Boston. For that reason, we even managed to anger ourselves. To this day, I’m not quite sure how we pulled it all off were it not for Andy, Adam, Jake, Jonas, Everett, Max and those first few staffers who had the heart, humor, and courage to believe in our operation.

And they weren’t wrong to believe.

Much has changed since those early rug rat days and 2015 will always serve as the year we put on our big boy pants. For starters, (more…)

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Wake Up to Compost: an Introduction

By Lucy Dilworth

lucy headshotHi everyone! I wanted to formally introduce myself as the newest addition to the Bootstrap community. My name is Lucy and I’m a fresh faced blogger from Maine who recently planted roots in the big city. I graduated last spring from Miami University in Ohio where I studied creative writing. Post-graduation, I indulged in my wanderlust and traveled to the opposite side of the world where I lived with an array of fascinating individuals, including a citrus farmer and a taxidermist. At one point, I found myself composting New Zealand soil with the locals! Despite my ever-changing scenery, I’m grateful to now be in a city where I have the opportunity to be educated on urban composting and pass my knowledge onto others.

Although it’s been awesome to see residential and commercial food scrap collections in an urban setting, I was even more astounded when I saw a composting bin at my 86-year-old grandmother’s house a few weeks ago in Manchester-By-The-Sea. In terms of my own awareness of composting, it’s been very limited until recently. During college, I lived with seven other girls. We certainly produced enough organic waste to compost. Sadly, our priorities lay within what we were going to wear out on the weekends rather than learning to recycle and reuse. When I saw my grandmother’s composting bin, I knew that I was way late to the game. Most people don’t compost because they don’t know how to or why it’s beneficial, which is a category I am guilty of falling into. However, with my new gig at Bootstrap and all the resources I have access to here and online, I can now start to learn about more sustainable practices at home and beyond. And composting? I guess it’s so easy my grandma can do it.

WUTE sponsorSpeaking of revelations, last month I worked my first Bootstrap event at the Wake Up the Earth Festival while also entering Jamaica Plain territory for the first time (or JP as the cool kids say). The festival was a perfect exposure to one of the communities I’ll be working with and an alternative and educational way to spend my Saturday afternoon. It was also the perfect place for anyone trying to get over their agoraphobia. It was a humbling, yet successful experience considering I ran out of flyers within the first hour and one of my managers mistook me for an eager client with inappropriate personal space as I stood with him behind the Bootstrap table. On a positive note, (more…)

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A Green Gospel: Tiny Kitchen Scraps Have Big Civic Impact

Greetings compost nuts!

Since May, we’ve welcomed over 200 new Bootstrappers into our growing community of urban composters. With so many of you new to the Bootstrap game, we figured it prudent to take a moment to outline the tremendous benefits of having you on board. Your commitment to composting (a completely voluntary commitment at that) is laudable. So please, take a bow.

Now, let’s look at the impacts!

MeganatWrightLocke
Tiny kitchen scraps; big civic impact!

As a Bootstrap customer, you’re reducing your own carbon footprint (to date, you’ve helped to eliminate the emission of more than half a million pounds of harmful GHGs into the atmosphere), while helping to produce a over 250,000 pounds of natural soil amendment for local growers. Talk about a twofer! Additionally, as a BSC client you’ve helped create and fund over a dozen green jobs; support educational programming for students from kindergarten to college; and reduce the detrimental effects of landfills. So whether you know it or not, every Bootstrap subscriber is part of a community of activists that is spreading a profoundly more sustainable way of life. As a result, your membership allows The Boot to fulfill our biggest mission: empowering residents of Boston and its environs to (more…)

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The ABCs of BSC

Why Compost? Spell it out with B-O-O-T-S-T-R-A-P

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e the envy of your neighbors. With other fools tossing out their food scraps like it’s 1987, Bootstrap brings convenience, practicality, and oodles of cachet to the radical act of food diversion. Get with the future now.

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MG…It’s so easy. Seriously, composting with Bootstrap is essentially hassle-proof: Signup online, get a bucket, start collecting organics.

 

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ffset landfills. Landfills are fundamentally unsustainable, releasing pollutants into the ground, air and water. By removing organics from the conventional waste stream, we are challenging — and transforming — the very notion of trash.

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ake aim at GHG emissions. Carbon dioxide and methane gas (prevalent offshoots from landfills) contribute to global warming. Composting a pound of kale offsets the emission of .95 pounds of Co2. That’s a (more…)

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Delicacies from the Dregs: the Spirit of Life, Compost and Rebirth

by Karen Krolak
Artistic Director/Founder of Monkeyhouse and Faculty Member of Impulse Dance Center

Who would have ever guessed that your table scraps would keep my brother’s quirky spirit alive? As Bootstrap Compost geared up for their second Compost Week!, I thought they would appreciate knowing how my husband, Jason and I had used our first batch. After they read my email, they invited me to share my story with the larger Bootstrap community.

I grew up in a very eccentric family. My older brother, Patrick, was legendary among our friends for the obsessive way that he dove into subjects ranging from paranormal phenomenon (he contacted scientists at MIT about his theories on sonar problems in finding Loch Ness…when he was in the fifth grade) to physics to the plight of the American Chestnut. No one is sure why he decided to grow 75 heirloom tomato plants in the early months of 2012. He had never really shown any interest in the fruit before but according to his wife, he spent hours nurturing them and conversing with them as they grew to over 6 feet tall!

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Original tomatoes from Patrick’s garden

On August 25, 2012, an SUV crossed the median of a highway in upstate New York and crashed into my parents’ convertible. My mother, father, and Patrick were instantly killed. At the time Jason, our mutt, Kwaq7aj’ (The 7 is silent and it is pronounced Quacks), and I were in the midst of moving. We were crashing at our dear friend, Nicole’s, apartment when the police arrived to notify us. May you never have to know the dizzying sense of being so fundamentally lost and shattered. (more…)

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