MORELAND HILLS – Members of the Green Commission are investigating how to offer villagers a local composting service.
Rust Belt Riders, an organization founded to divert food waste from landfills, offers collection services and drop-off points for compostable materials. The residents have expressed an interest in the service, but the village officials have not yet found a place for rubbish bins.
Zoe Apisdorf, Housing Manager for Rust Belt Riders, spoke to members of the commission on February 3. The company has dispensing locations across the greater Cleveland area, and Rust Belt Riders plans to expand services to the Chagrin Valley next. Mayor Dan Fritz and commission chairman Kris Tesar said the village was working on logistics.
“I think this is a tremendous service and I appreciate your efforts to create this company. It is something that certainly fits the goals and mission of our residents in Moreland Hills, so I applaud your efforts there, ”said Mayor Fritz. “Our trick is also to make it fit for us.”
Although it would be convenient for residents to have a drop off point for their compostable items in Village Hall on SOM Center Road, the mayor said there may be no space. The service department is at the back of the parking lot, which could be a hazard if local residents arrive to hand in their supplies throughout the day, village officials said.
“It’s difficult for people to maneuver around [during the day,]Ted DeWater, Head of Village Service, said. “We work there. Our gear and stuff come in and out pretty quickly. “
When the village joins the drop-off service, that location will also be listed on a map so anyone in the area who uses the Rust Belt Riders service can drop off items in Moreland Hills, bringing in more users than just villagers. Mayor Fritz said that other places in the village could have problems with security and poor light. The trash cans are accessible around the clock, said Ms. Apisdorf. Therefore, it is important that the location is safe and with adequate lighting at all times.
“We have some hurdles ahead of us in order to make this a central collection point,” said Mayor Fritz. “I don’t think they’re insurmountable, but they are significant.”
Ms. Apisdorf said that all containers are locked and the passcode is the same at every location. In order for the Rust Belt Riders drop-off service to be available, at least 50 residents must indicate that they are interested in the program in a survey. Ms. Apisdorf said her organization hopes that at least half of those who showed interest in the survey will sign up, but often fewer will take the step. The newest drop-off point is in South Euclid, she said, and there are seven participants.
There is already a drop-off point in Lowe’s greenhouse in Bainbridge with 32 people registered to attend, Ms. Apisdorf said.
Ms. Tesar said she joined the dispensing program a few weeks ago and brought her compostable items to Lowe’s.
Rust Belt Riders accepts all leftovers including animal products, meat bones, dairy products, cooked foods, raw vegetables, baked goods, dry goods, and ready meals. The only edible items people shouldn’t put in their compost bins are clean liquids. Food waste can be thrown straight into the bins or put in a compostable bag.
All materials are composted at Rust Belt Riders’ facility in Independence. Employees use the waste to make various types of soil, including a seed start mix and a house plant mix.
“We take this compost and process it into soil mixes. One can [purchase] the loose, unscreened compost. This is a material that is offered for sale, ”said Ms. Apisdorf. “If you saw it in the world you’d say, ‘Oh, that’s black mulch,’ but it’s actually made up of millions of living organisms.”
The organization also offers home pickup services, but Ms. Apisdorf said they would need high enrollment, such as three to four households per square mile, to get to Moreland Hills.
Mayor Fritz has ongoing talks with Rust Belt Riders to make the trash can become a reality in the village.