The Quick and Dirty: The Story of Greater Boston’s Food Scrap Go-Getters

The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap (via Boston Globe)

The early days: Andy and the USS Bootstrap in 2011

Jobless in the midst of a severely depressed economy, Andy Brooks launched Bootstrap Compost in January 2011 as a means to a paycheck. Equipped with a hand truck, a T-pass, flyers and a desire for meaningful work, Andy began collecting the food scraps of a few subscribers in his Jamaica Plain neighborhood, processing the organics in his backyard. When the DailyCandy, a popular cultural blog in Boston, caught wind of his composting business, the response was nothing short of bananas.

Keeping it green: Upcycled and homemade

Bootstrap Compost keeping it green with upcycled and hand made business cards

Flash forward five months: Igor Kharitonenkov, an up and coming multi-media producer (and coincidentally, an unemployed one), created a video short about Bootstrap. Igor was interested in profiling and promoting sustainable businesses through new media. Impressed with his work, Andy hired Igor to help with marketing and administrative tasks. At this point, the company was serving 101 subscribers and had forged a partnership with a local farm, eager to make use of the nitrogen-rich scraps.


Flash forward one year:
Bootstrap had grown to 250 subscribers, matching the gray hairs suddenly appearing on Andy’s head. To add to the workload, the company was selected as a finalist for
MassChallenge 2012, an internationally renowned 4-month long start-up incubator. Help was needed at Camp Boot. Over beers one night, an offer was made that would lay the groundwork for Bootstrap’s future. Igor was brought on as co-founder in June 2012 to take full advantage of MassChallenge and help develop and grow the business.

Proud MassChallenge 2012 finalists, bucket included

The two proud MassChallenge 2012 finalists and their mascot

Since then, Bootstrap Compost has grown to serve nearly 500 residential and 27 commercial clients from Roslindale to Malden. Between all the daily pick-ups and frequent farm trips (4 partnering farms and counting!), Bootstrap also takes time to visit local schools, conferences and farmers’ markets to share its expertise in urban community composting.

October 2012: Moving into Bootstrap HQ in Charlestown

October 2012: Moving into Bootstrap HQ in Charlestown

We started two and a half years ago as pioneers for big city residential compost. And now with the team we’ve assembled we aim to become not only leaders in the industry, but leaders of a movement and a lifestyle too.

But it is still just the beginning and it all comes back to you. You all are part of our narrative. And we thank you for that. Now keep those food scraps coming.

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