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Posts Tagged ‘bootstrap compost’

Last week when I posted about my visit to start-up incubator Mass Challenge, I said I wanted to learn more about 2012 finalist Bootstrap Compost, a Boston-area composting business.

Jessica Ilyse Kurn, of PRI radio show Living on Earth, recently interviewed Bootstrap Compost founder Andy Brooks.

“KURN: The idea of helping the community was his inspiration, and he had another motivation. A college grad, Brooks was getting frustrated after searching endlessly for jobs.

“BROOKS: After like relying on this cruel economy of applying and cover letters and resumes and interviews, and nothing was going anywhere for like two years, and I was, like, forget it, I gotta do something for myself, and the whole notion of, like, picking myself up.

“KURN: And so Bootstrap Compost was born. Brooks says there are many reasons why he loves helping urbanites compost.

“BROOKS: When people ask me that question, it’s like someone saying, ‘Why do you like Star Wars? Or why are the Beatles good?’ I get dizzy. Like, there’s so many reasons. The way that interests me is like — what are the challenges that we face being a disposable society?

“KURN: Brooks puts on his helmet, and jumps on his souped-up bicycle – complete with a custom-made trailer that tags behind. Such a setup couldn’t have been designed for anything other than a nomadic compost business. …

“BROOKS: When you throw out your banana peels into the trash, that to me is insulting to all the resources that went into growing those things initially. The end product is just treated like refuse, but it shouldn’t be – it still harbors this immense energy to be used for good, and to go back into the cycle of growing.”

More.

Photograph of Andy Brooks: Living on Earth

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Fun time at Mass Challenge!​

Mass Challenge is an incubator “accelerator” for entrepreneurial companies, perhaps the biggest worldwide. I’ve blogged about it before.

Of the 125 finalists in this year’s challenge, 48 gave one-minute pitches last night to an audience of about 200 friends, family, and investors at 1 Marina Park on the Boston waterfront.

Besides being entertaining, it was inspiring. So many people working hard on so many great ideas!

A couple noteworthy presentations were from MIT people. Helmet_Hub tapped the skills of MIT materials science students to create a helmet-vending machine. They have already partnered with the City of Boston’s Hubway, which lends bikes point to point. Another MIT-based organization, Global Research Innovation & Technology (GRIT), uses bicycle parts to make inexpensive wheelchairs for Third World patients. Very impressive. (More on GRIT here.)

I also wrote down that soundfest has a better kind of hearing aid. Prime Student Loan screens students so banks can make a safe loan even if graduates have no FICO score.

Wanderu was one of the few female-run companies. It does for ground travel what kayak and others do for air. Zoomtilt creates ads that are said to be so funny and entertaining, people actually want to watch them. Guided Surgery Solutions helps oral surgeons drill into the right place.

Roameo helps you find out what’s going on near where you are right now. Newartlove helps artists sell their work. Social Made Simple helps small businesses with social networking. (Check it out, Luna & Stella.) CellanyxDiagnostics has a more precise test for prostate cancer than the PSA.

I will likely follow up on a worthy-cause business called Bootstrap Compost. They teach you to compost, give you the bucket, pick it up, deliver it to farms, and give leftover compost to schools. You can have some, too. Bootstrap is very low-tech, doing most travel on bikes. It is proud of keeping tons of food scraps out of landfills.

I was also impressed at the Mass Challenge diversity — men, women (OK, not many women), old, young, scientists, artists, business types, different races, different nationalities, humorous, solemn.

No need to worry about the economy long term. Not with the joy of invention alive and well.

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