///Rust Belt Riders Makes Composting Easy

Rust Belt Riders Makes Composting Easy

Shaker Heights residents have access to an easy and affordable composting solution, thanks to the Cleveland-based Rust Belt Riders.

Employee of Rust Belt Riders dumping compost at its facility

Photographs by Jacob Koestler

One effective way to live more sustainably is to compost your food waste, instead of throwing it in the trash. That’s because food waste sent to landfills creates methane – a potent greenhouse gas – whereas composted food waste does not. Composting creates rich soil, which only helps the environment.

The good news: Shaker Heights residents have access to an easy and affordable composting solution, thanks to the Cleveland-based Rust Belt Riders.

Rust Belt Riders was launched in 2014 by Dan Brown and Michael Robinson. Until recently, it offered its services only to commercial clients. “We have about 150 businesses on an ongoing basis, ranging from the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals to small mom-and-pop businesses,” says Brown.

But in 2019, Rust Belt Riders decided to expand its services to consumers. This started with a drop-off program at its facility in Cleveland.

It also began exploring what it would take to provide its services in the suburbs. The City collaborated with Rust Belt Riders on a pilot drop-off program at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. The service was so popular that the company added a second drop-off location, The Dealership (3558 Lee Road), and subsequently selected Shaker as the first suburb for its residential pick-up program. The drop-off program costs $10 a month; residential pick-up starts at $30 a month.

Hand in compost

Brown estimates that Shaker residents have already helped divert 110,000 pounds of food scraps from Ohio’s landfills through its service. “That has helped the City of Shaker prevent 39 tons of greenhouse gas emissions that would have come from transporting and landfilling these food scraps,” says Brown. “That’s the same as not driving 96,000 miles or taking 8.4 passenger vehicles off the road.”

Next up: exploring how to expand the composting program to the City’s public and private schools. “The goal would be to divert all school lunch waster,’ says Peters.

For Brown, Peters and the many Shaker residents now using Rust Belt Rider’s services, composting is a no-brainer. “It’s one of the biggest levers we have in our daily life to be more sustainable,” says Brown. “The question is, What are you going to do with that banana peel? Are you going to send it to a landfill and create methane? Or are you going to compost it and, quite literally, pull carbon out of the atmosphere and put it in the soil?”

Learn more about Rust Belt Riders at rustbeltriders.com. Use the promo code SHAKERLIFE5 to save $5 on any Rust Belt Riders program.