As good Brooklynites, we here at Bushwick Daily are familiar with the virtues of composting our food scraps. Composting is an essential part of sustainable agriculture, turning organic waste into a fertilizer that returns the nutrients locked up in our food scraps back to the farm. But who wants to put up with the hassle of schlepping their stinking food scraps baggie to the Union Square Greenmarket (much less the resentful glares of their fellow L train passengers)? To the eco-conscious urbanite, recycling food waste sounds nice in theory, but is it worth enduring its inconvenient and sometimes unpleasant realities?
Fortunately for us here in Bushwick, BKROT has come to relieve us of this dilemma. This new initiative, which officially launched earlier this month, aims to make food waste recycling convenient and affordable for Bushwick residents, while also supporting local urban farms and providing green employment opportunities for neighborhood youth. For $10 a month, BKROT will come to your apartment building once a week to pick up your food scraps. The service includes a supply of compost bags, and for $5 you can buy a neat little compost bin that fits the bags and keeps any foul odors from escaping. BKROT’s compost couriers, who travel carbon-free by bicycle, are Bushwick youth recruited through Bushwick Campus Farm’s summer youth employment program. They are trained in bicycle safety and composting practices and paid $15 an hour for their weekly four-hour shifts. The youth sort through the collected food scraps (they’re earning that $15 an hour!) to remove any non-compostable items (for example, any meat or dairy products) and deposit them at compost bins throughout the neighborhood. BKROT plans to donate the finished compost to urban farms in the neighborhood, helping foster a greener, more sustainable Bushwick.
Sandra Nurse founded BKROT along with her partner, Zachary Miller. Nurse, who is a carpenter, discovered the joys of cycling on her way to various jobs around town and thought, if you can haul carpentry gear on a bike, why not food waste? A weekly collection service would eliminate many of the inconveniences that keep people from composting. Better yet, hiring neighborhood youth would address youth unemployment and provide an educational opportunity doing important work to boost Bushwick’s environmental sustainability. With key assistance from the Bushwick Eco Action Network (BEAN), Nurse and Miller turned their idea into a reality now 17 composting households strong.
For more information about BKROT and to sign up for their food waste collection service, check out bkrot.org.