Eastside Compost is a worker-owned business dedicated to increasing the amount of compost made in the Lansing area.
Mike began Eastside Compost out of his backyard on the eastside of Lansing in 2020, during the pandemic. He started it solo (with significant support from partner Jill and daughter Zora), and had a good response from customers who wanted a service to pick up their food scraps. The service grew into an LLC business in 2021. It moved out of Mike’s backyard and onto a rented plot of Land Bank land on Mifflin Street. Among other things, it began sponsoring the Lansing Bike & Seek with proceeds from the compost and it grew and decomposed until...
MC heard about a guy on the eastside who loved compost and bikes as much as MC. Tamiko, MC’s partner, connected with Jill and then one summer evening in 2022 they all had dinner on the westside of Lansing at the Genesee Gardens Cohousing community where MC & Tamiko live (and compost with the whole GGC community). The compost is turned with help from chicken friends in the community and helps build soil in the very gardens near the former Genesee Elementary school.
Meanwhile, Ian was working at a local grocery store, experiencing a form of reverse culture-shock returning home from Craftsbury, Vermont, where composting is as prolific as recycling. Initially planning to use his self appointed position as compost manager as a springboard into starting his own electric bike based composting business, Ian ended up establishing contact with Mike and MC through a coworker, and combining forces sounded like a much better idea. After shelling out for his beloved e-bike, the three of us came together to become owner operators of the original Eastside Compost, and have been biking and composting with the rest of Lansing ever since.
Why Worker Owned? It works for us.
In January 2023, we officially started cooperating as workers who owned equal shares of the business that Mike started almost 3 years ago. We 3 owners cooperate naturally and appreciate having an alternative model to a more traditional ‘competitive corporation’. We’re learning as we go, using a democratic structure and cooperative principles when we meet and will continue to explore the business of cooperation as a fundamental part of Eastside Compost. Let us know if you care about cooperatives and we might keep you apprised of what's next on our cooperative journey.
We prefer using our muscle. It makes us tired.
We do most of our curbside collection using bicycles pulling large (sometimes comically large) trailers. We can carry about twenty buckets on this trailer.
So. Many. Pumpkins.
We can also support events with our trailers. Here is a trailer loaded up with ~300 lbs of pumpkins and gourds from a jack-o-lantern collection organized by the Clean Refillery.
Keep getting better.
We are always looking for ways to be more efficient in our efforts. We look for larger and more stable trailers so we can carry more buckets, we create our daily routes to reduce miles travelled. But there is always room to improve.