Northshore Magazine

July 2012

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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Page 96 of 155

Heap Trick: A compost pile; and loading "black gold" onto a truck bed. and composting rates through the roof. San Francisco, which made composting mandatory for businesses and residents in 2009, is diverting more than 70 percent of its waste from landfills. In Seattle, the rate is 54 percent, which is 15 percent- age points above the rate in 2003—an all-time high. Miller, 30, and his girlfriend Sarah Wolfskehl, 30, were living (and composting) in Seattle two years ago before she moved back to Gloucester to be closer to her family. Miller, a Wiscon- sin native who had spent a few summers in Gloucester and has family ties to the city, followed. When he arrived, he couldn't believe how far behind Seattle this area was when it came to composting. "In Wisconsin it's called 'compost.' In Seattle it's called 'compost.' But when I moved here, everyone was calling it 'garbage' or 'wet garbage' and 'trash' or 'rubbish,' says Miller. "I would say, 'What's garbage? No, not garbage—compost.'" It's an important distinction: Almost two-thirds of the weight of our "garbage" consists of organic materials that can be composted. Removing that heavy, wet compost from garbage destined for landfills means lighter loads for haulers who are typically greeted with "tipping" fees ranging from $65-$72 per ton. But Miller underestimated the weight of the compost and quickly discovered he couldn't lift the barrels into his truck bed. So he spent the first few months shoveling the compost out of the barrels. Fortunately, three months and several broken shovels later, Black Earth Hauler got some much-needed help. Sarah, who by now was the company's marketing manager and website developer, enlisted the help of a family friend with a talent for tinkering, who built a hydraulic lift that attached to the passenger's side of Miller's truck and swung barrels up and over the side of the truck bed in a few seconds. "Without that I couldn't have gotten any bigger," says Miller of the cata- pult-like contraption he nicknamed "The Praying Mantis." "I didn't understand how it was going to work—it just seemed like an unbelievable motion," he continues. "But we made July 2012 July 2012 95 We Use Fresh Produce From Local Farms LUNCH BRUNCH DINNER SMALL PLATES BAR DINNING ROOM 25 Hammatt Street | Ipswich MA 01938 | 978.356.0099

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