Monday, October 25, 2010

Compost Complaints: Lyndsie vs. The Peloton

Peloton: 1.5

This is the score for my new war against "not composting". Here's the backstory:

My apartment complex, The Peloton started composting on a 6-month trial period (I'm sure some of you have read my excitement in an early post).  Well, the 6 months is up and the board has voted to not maintain the composting service. Now, this really toasted my bread (as they say) and I've began making contact with the other residents to get a feel for their attitudes. It turns out that so far the majority of people support composting with only one nay-sayer. In a bit I will post some resident responses but first I'm going to post my letter to The Peloton (aka Hammersmith Properties).  You don't have to read all of this, but I feel that I need to get my voice out there any way I can.

      I hear that the Peloton board has decided to cancel their composting service by the end of this month. My family started composting right when the trial service was set up and have loved doing it ever since. It has caused us to accumulate much less trash and has led us to feel like we are making a positive impact on the environment. It has also helped us teach our 4 year old about reducing trash and improving the quality of the world we live in. We voted to keep the composting service as we believe that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

     I have been talking to some of the residents and it seems that people are still interested in utilizing the compost service. This is also something that I feel very strongly about. I feel that it's very important to contribute to Boulder County's Zero Waste initiative. I’ve noticed that the Peloton’s advertisement is “Going green in Boulder.” But how can you claim this without offering services like composting? The website says that going green starts outside of the residents’ windows, but why not work on both the outside and the inside of the premises?

     I have some questions as to why the service is being cancelled. The email says that there is a lack of resident participation, but I am wondering how this was determined. Have they taken into account that some residents of the Peloton are only seasonal and live for most of the year somewhere else? Also, I'm guessing you were relying on survey data and it's likely that some of the residents haven't filled out the surveys or didn't even receive them? I, for one, am not even on your email list though I have asked to be included... Also, I heard that there is something called a "sustainablity committee" at the Peloton in which I did express interest on the survey, but there has not been any more communication on the subject. I don't know what that charge is for composting through Western Disposal but I have started doing research and am willing to do more research or anything I can do to help with the Peloton's sustainability intiatives. I know of a couple other people who would be interested in meeting to talk about this as well. I think what what happened is that everyone thought someone else was taking care of it, which is why no one has stepped forward yet. But I am willing to rally people to help and share their voice so we can keep the services like composting, recycling etc.
I'm annoyed with the cancellation of this policy because it will just increase the amount of trash the community puts out and that will just go into the landfills and create waste and methane gas. Niether of which is good. Also, Boulder County has a Zero Waste Initiative where they encourage people to recycle and compost, along with other waste-reducing efforts. I don't know if composting is required by the regulations, but even so it should be a service offered. Besides, The Peloton claims it is going green which is hypocritical of them to say if they stop offering these services. Also, I'm annoyed because I hadn't even heard that the Peloton had a Sustainablity Committee, much less was I given the opportunity to join it.
So I started by emailing all the residents whose email addresses I could find in the directory and, like I said, most of the responses were positive (which is why I awarded myself 0.5 point):  
  • " I think it is a good idea, and I hope the logistics can be worked out to avoid the abuses that led to its demise."
  • " If we were at the Pelton more than a few weeks a year, we would want composting, too."
  • "I too am very disappointed!  I bought a counter compost container immediately and have composted this whole time.  I wrote Polly an email telling her how disappointed I am about the cancellation."
 However, I did get one semi negative response (which is why the Peloton get 0.5 points):
  • "We got your inquiry about the composting. We are not adverse to the concept but the set up for bins in the garage is totally unacceptable to us. It created a great deal of odor in a garage already burdened buy sewage and automobile odors. Stepping out of the elevator into such  an unpleasant  surrounding is not what we consider acceptable."
"Ok, so you'd rather contribute tons of waste a year to a landfill thus decreasing our earth space and increasing our methane gas emission than be in discomfort for the 10-20 seconds it takes to walk to your car?" Sigh...people at the complex complain about all kinds of ridiculous things but this one might take the cake. I mean, where did this guy decide that he was so entitled? Yeah, he pays HOA fees, but so does everyone? Do you REALLY think your personal pet peeve is worth making the rest of the inhabitants sacrafice something? And to tell the truth, I don't think it smells in there at all - they have giant fans that blow for quite some time and I don't usually go around in parking garages taking deep, lung-filling breaths.

Anyway...I found out that while we have "in theory" a Sustainability Committee, in practice no one is actually on it. So, that is my goal - to get on (or be!) the Committee and start firing up other residents and/or helping to make my apartment complex a better place to live that's also nice on the environment. I really hope I can make a difference, but if it comes down to it, pitting me against vocal and entitled (and probably MUCH OLDER) residents like the one above might be a losing battle.

If anyone can or wants to help me in this, I need all assistence, tips and encouragement that I can get! Oh, and if you care about this stuff, I'd recommend not buying a unit here and go w/ a house with no stinky HOA or board people.

EDIT: I gave the Peloton an extra point because technically, the compost service is going to end in a few days, so they've already achieved that. And I gave myself another 0.5 point for knocking on the door of some residents today and talking to them about it (they agreed w/ me!).

These tiny, tiny flies live in my compost and while they are annoying, they don't seem to be doing anyone any harm. And my cats love to eat them. =)

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