Clutch Collaborative Hosts Andy Brooks, Founder of Bootstrap Compost

Riding around Boston in 2011 with a trailer full of food scraps attached to his bicycle, Andy Brooks, Founder of Bootstrap Compost, collected 16 buckets of food waste to be converted into compost. After nearly four years, Brooks and his team now collect over 150 buckets of food waste a day from businesses and homes. The Clutch Collaborative invited Brooks to speak about the process of starting Bootstrap Compost and the effect his work has had on the Boston community Wednesday night. After leaving his previous job of ten years at Harvard University as a sports reporter, Brooks began working in various restaurants, discovering how food scraps were being wasted every day. It was during this time that he conceived the idea of Bootstrap Compost. “To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about the obstacles in front of me, I just started the business, and now it has become something that people rely on, and now I’m in charge of payrolls … All of a sudden I’m the manager. I try to be the best manager I can be,” said Brooks. Founded in 2011, Bootstrap Compost is a residential and commercial service that collects organic waste from homes and corporations, sends it to farms to be turned into compost and returns the compost to the homes and corporations that the waste came from. According to the Bootstrap Compost website, their mission is to harness the potential of organic leftovers and give back to the community what Bootstrap Compost borrows from the community. Not only does Bootstrap Compost keep waste from makings its way into landfills, but it also rewards corporations and families that subscribe to the service by returning to them nutrient-rich compost. “You drop it off at the farm, and then we extract the finished compost and give it back to the subscribers. So as a customer, you are not just getting rid of stuff, you are receiving finished compost after six months,” Brooks said. According to Brooks, although composting may seem like a novel concept, historical evidence of composting can be traced back to Roman civilization. Composting had not lost popularity until recently, and Bootstrap Compost is meant to support and further the compost movement. A benefit of Bootstrap Compost is the fact that farmers can conserve water because compost retains water more efficiently than soil, the impact of food waste on climate change is decreased and landfills are rendered obsolete, according to Brooks. “Compost also helps with the soil structure. Different sized pellets and different sized material gets mixed into the soil and it allows for variation, and it allows for worms to do their thing,” said Brooks. Clutch Collaborative is a student group that brings speakers and workshops to campus to discuss social change and activism in the real world, with the ultimate goal of empowering students to create change on campus.