Scraps will take compost from your Denver apartment by bike — for a price

Denver throws away a lot more trash than other cities and one of the best ways to change that is composting.

Founder Christi Turner,
 left, is building a bicycle-powered compost business. (Courtesy of Scraps)
Founder Christi Turner, left, is building a bicycle-powered compost business. (Courtesy of Scraps)
Founder Christi Turner, left, is building a bicycle-powered compost business. (Courtesy of Scraps)

Denver throws away a lot more trash than other cities and one of the best ways to change that is composting. But if you’re living in an apartment, you have to do compost on your own.

Side effects of that may include bad-smelling buckets that lead to constant ridicule: 

Some people claim that freezing your compost is another option, but really, who has room for that, that's where smoothie fruit goes.
Some people claim that freezing your compost is a smell-mitigating option, but really, who has room for that.

Enter Scraps, a new business that’s trying to pick up compost from apartments for $10 a month.

“For me, I really want this to be a business,” says founder Christi Turner. “There’s a larger issue in the waste diversion industry where because recycling and e-waste drives are often done for free, people don’t understand there’s a cost to doing this. This is a service that has value, and that’s something I hope people will prioritize.”

Turner has already gotten some high-profile restaurants and events to pay for her service, which oh, by the way, is done entirely by bike. Work & Class, Cart-Driver and the Big Wonderful have utilized Turner’s service already during a soft launch.

Dealing with the trash of the thousands of people who attended the Big Wonderful doesn’t exactly sound soft, though — Scraps ended up composting 425 pounds and recycling 1,107 more pounds in three days. And that wasn’t easy.

“You’re at a festival, there’s alcohol, there’s music, there’s fun, and you’re not thinking which of these things is compostable and which is recyclable,” Turner said. “What became clear was that if there was a station that didn’t have a volunteer or if a volunteer stepped away, most people just threw things in the wrong bin.”

Compared to apartment buildings, events like the Big Wonderful are actually easier for Turner, at least in terms of getting people on board to pay for Scraps. Currently, Scraps is focusing on multi-family properties in the downtown area.

“Restaurants are quick and easy, multifamily is the long game,” Turner said. “It should be such a simple amenity to add, but [property managers] are working with such small margins and so many rules.”

While Turner definitely wants multi-family properties, given that Scraps is a new business, she’s not sweating it too much at this point.

“I don’t know what the critical mass will be, but for now, the people who want to be first are most important. Paying for this, wanting this, is important,” she said.

Turner herself had a moment when she had to decide Scraps is what she wanted to do. After several years of considering the business, the 2016 election proved to be a catalyst.

“After the election, I was like this is one of those moments where we want to be doing what we’re really passionate about,” she said.

Bikes are another thing Scraps is pretty passionate about, come rain or shine.

“From an ideological standpoint, I want to say all bikes all the time. The woman who’s working with me, we’re pretty hardcore riders and we’re trying to avoid [using cars],” she said. “That being said, some days may present more danger than is necessary to run a pickup.”

If you want sign up for Scraps, you can express interest here.