In just one year, West Philly-based Pedal Coop (PC) has tripled the reusable waste that they collect. In all, they pick up more than 9,000 gallons of compost and recycling around the city every month.
Their mission is to contribute to sustainable efforts while at once working to reduce carbon emissions by transporting compost and recycling from clients in Center City, South Philly and West Philly. As you may have guessed from the name, their transportation method of choice is the bicycle.
Members of the three-person staff pedal 6 to 20-mile routes and carry two or three 100-gallon toters to store compost/recycling on trailers. In South Philly, they’ve partnered with groups like Growing Home and Mercy Edible Park to bring compost to community gardens, and they’re currently expanding their program to other parks and gardens.
PC executive director Amy Wilson explained that Philadelphia was a perfect city for their compost experiment, with its “abundant vacant land, a vibrant agriculture community, dense development, and, unfortunately, lead-contaminated soil,” she said. “This combination screams for us to collect food waste from the dense development and put it to use locally.”
And by using compost soil made by PC, founded three years ago, folks can avoid growing in contaminated soil. PC has 78 clients (40 compost, 38 recycling) and offers a variety of delivery services like magazine delivery, collections for one-time events, and moving services. Seven days a week, they deliver for Four World’s Bakery (they also helped move the business to its new location) in West Philly, where they’ve also recently launched a compost campaign with the University City District.
As they evolve, PC will work to develop a sustainable business model. If people keep eating (they probably will) there will continue to be plenty of compost and recyclable materials in these parts. Hopefully, what Pedal Coop does will continue to catch on, with more and more clients coming on board in the years to come.