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Occupy Wall Street’s Now Composting, Distributing It To Community Gardens

Occupy Wall Street’s Now Composting, Distributing It To Community Gardens


Written by Matthew McDermott, Treehugger

The new bike-powered generators down at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zucotti Park have been all the rage in the media (and with passersby) since they were built. They are certainly cool, and providing a much-needed service since the police confiscated OWS’ generators, citing safety concerns. But there’s also another interesting sustainability story going on, right next to the bike generators: Composting.

Coordinated by Time’s Up!, between 75-200 pounds of compostable waste is being collected each day from the encampment. There’s no on-site compost pile, perhaps obviously; rather, the plastic bins of waste are being taken by cargo bike to a number of community compost collecting facilities in Manhattan, such as the Lower East Side Ecology Center, Earth Matter, and El Jardin de Paraíso.

Time’s Up! member Brennan Cavanaugh (in the photo above) says there’s be a lot of commercial interest in the compostable waste, but they’ve remained committed to keeping the waste both out of the landfill waste stream and out of the hands of the commercial carting interests — and remained committed to moving everything via bicycle to eliminate the use of fossil fuel powered transport.

Reducing fossil fuel-based products is also part of the plans of the newly formed OWS Sustainability Working Group. Bottled water, as well as all single-use plastic products are planned to be phased out as the Sustainability group coordinates with Sanitation and Kitchen working groups to make the Zucotti Park encampment more environmental friendly.

A side note: In fact, the police unintentionally helped out in this regard when they confiscated the OWS generators. Though the current number of bike generators are not sufficient for the group’s entire electricity needs, just six more will do the trick.

As Time’s Up!’s Catherine Talese says, what Sustainability is doing is really a microcosm of what OWS is trying to do more broadly — people attempting to make a system that works for the needs of the people first and foremost, working together to do so.

It may sound a bit cliché but it’s true: “We’re not for independence,” Talese says. “We’re for interdependence.”

This post was originally published by Treehugger.


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Occupy Wall Street Builds Bike-Powered Generators (Video)

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Photo from Mat McDermott via flickr

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4:25PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

I'm so glad and pleased to hear about their amazing sustainable efforts and doing this level of composting is so great. If this was able to generate interest in the wider community, every city in every state across the world might impliment comprehensive compost programs, where compostable waste is collected for all community gardens, saving the environment as well as helping fertilise new plants.

2:46PM PST on Nov 16, 2011


5:18AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

These people are brilliant!
Kudos to them!

4:16AM PST on Nov 10, 2011

Keeps getting more and more inspirational!

8:51PM PST on Nov 9, 2011


11:38PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

GOOD FOR YOU ON BICYCLE DELIVERY OF COMPOST! Some strong people who can ride those bicycles too!

6:29PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

great article. thanks for sharing! :)

4:35PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

=v= These are fun to ride, and passers-by enjoy it quite a bit. You get to tell people about sustainability, suggest that they give it a try (cheaper than a gym!) and lots of them do. Plus, it's a great way to keep warm. :^|

4:33PM PST on Nov 8, 2011


3:29PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

Hopefully there will be so much good coming out of the Occupy Movement, that it will finally overshadow and nullify all the bad that was the catalyst for the Occupy Movement in the first place. One can only hope.

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