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…)

Continue Reading2015: The Year Bootstrap Learned to Tie Its Boots

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…)

Continue Reading2015: The Year Bootstrap Learned to Tie Its Boots

A Summer Job: Bootstrap Compost Gets Busy at an Array of Local Events

  • Post category:Events

So much for summer being a time for rest and relaxation. It seemed that as soon as the temperatures really got cooking, Bootstrap did too — serving and/or presenting at several Boston-area events, festivals, marketplaces, and community forums. As a result, we made some new friends and reconnected with old ones, all the while spreading a message of sustainability, waste diversion, and easy tactics for leading a green lifestyle. Here’s a quick rundown of our wildly busy lazy season.

At the first annual Egleston Square Farmers’ Market Summer Kickoff in early June, hundreds of area residents gathered in this nook of Jamaica Plain to scoop up the choicest locally grown produce (including goodies from BSC partner Buckle Farm). It was there we set up several bins to collect compostable material as our neighbors hung out under the sun to enjoy the bounty and live music.

Happy pigs at Buckle Farm make for a happy local food system!

On June 6 we paid a visit to the Roslindale Farmers’ Market, where Andy set up and monitored a pair of BSC cans to capture compostables. With over 20 vendors offering potatoes, pottery and petunias, the (more…)

Continue ReadingA Summer Job: Bootstrap Compost Gets Busy at an Array of Local Events

The Quick and Dirty: The Story of Greater Boston’s Food Scrap Go-Getters

The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap (via Boston Globe)
The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap in 2011

Jobless in the midst of a severely depressed economy, Andy Brooks launched Bootstrap Compost in January 2011 as a means to a paycheck. Equipped with a hand truck, a T-pass, flyers and a desire for meaningful work, Andy began collecting the food scraps of a few subscribers in his Jamaica Plain neighborhood, processing the organics in his backyard. When the DailyCandy, a popular cultural blog in Boston, caught wind of his composting business, the response was nothing short of bananas.

Keeping it green: Upcycled and homemade
Bootstrap Compost keeping it green with upcycled and hand made business cards

Flash forward five months: Igor Kharitonenkov, an up and coming multi-media producer (and coincidentally, an unemployed one), created a video short about Bootstrap. Igor was interested in profiling and promoting sustainable businesses through new media. Impressed with his work, Andy hired Igor to help with marketing and administrative tasks. At this point, the company was serving 101 subscribers and had forged a partnership with a local farm, eager to make use of the nitrogen-rich scraps.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/cWzaMV07buI]


Flash forward one year:
Bootstrap had grown to 250 subscribers, matching the gray hairs suddenly appearing on Andy’s head. To add to the workload, the company was selected as a finalist for
MassChallenge 2012, an internationally renowned 4-month long start-up incubator. Help was needed (more…)

Continue ReadingThe Quick and Dirty: The Story of Greater Boston’s Food Scrap Go-Getters