Local organics composter Rust Belt Riders wins $20K grant

Rust Belt Riders, the Northeast Ohio bicycle-riding organic recyclers who collect food waste from local restaurants, schools, and homes, have won a $20,000 grant that will help them manage customer relations, improve their billing processes, and expand their bicycles-and-trailers collection fleet.

The grant came from Social Enterprise Accelerator (SEA) Change of Northeast Ohio.

Rust Belt Riders grew out of a local community garden’s need for soil improvement. The gardening group, all employed in food service, realized that the soil amendment they were purchasing for the garden could be replaced by gathering the food waste at their work sites and composting it for use in the garden.

compost

Composted food waste becomes a soil amendment in the hands of Rust Belt Riders.

Seeing the value of their market for food waste, Rust Belt Riders began charging to collect it from local restaurants and, eventually, schools and households. (Read more at the Waste 360, WasteDIVE, and Rust Belt Riders websites.)

Rust Belt Riders are putting food waste where it belongs —in the garden — and Keeping It Out of the Landfill.

Want to stay in touch with the latest Zero Waste news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page, or subscribe to my Examiner.com page.

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story airs tonight on MSNBC

This evening, Wednesday, April 22 — Earth Day 2015 — MSNBC will premiere “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.”

According to the announcement on Adweek magazine’s website, the documentary “examines how much food humans waste and the resulting costs to our economy, our climate, and our health” — as much as 40 percent of what’s grown becomes food waste. The filmmakers highlighted this issue when they “gave up traditional grocery shopping for six months and instead rely exclusively on food that would have otherwise been thrown out.”

Various preview clips are available at msnbc.com and adweek.com. The show airs Wednesday, April 22 at 10 p.m. Eastern time on MSNBC.

In January 2012, the Food Network addressed this issue with “The Big Waste,” in which two teams of Food Network chefs (Cleveland’s own Iron Chef Mike Symon was one of them) competed to create a dinner “worthy of their great reputations” using only food on its way to the trash. Video clips from the show are available on the Food Network website.

Food waste upsets me. Sending some of it to food banks or other redistributors solves a small part of the problem. Turning some of it to compost solves a little more. Extracting it from wastewater and turning it into energy or fertilizer takes another small bite. But the sad fact is that too much food rots in the field or ends up as sewage or in landfills, where it becomes an environmental hazard.

Watch “Just Eat It.” Food is for nutrition. Keep It Out of the Landfill.

Want to stay in touch with the latest recycling news in the Cleveland area? Just click on the Follow button at the bottom of my blog Home page, or subscribe to my Examiner.com page.