Rust Belt Riders
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 momand
pop businesses,” says Brown.
But in 2019, Rust Belt Riders
decided to expand its services to
consumers. This started with a dropoff
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 dropoff
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.
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 waste,’ 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.
WWW.SHAKER.LIFE | FALL 2020 69