A city like New York, that houses more than eight million inhabitants, generates huge amounts of landfill waste. This motivated Hello Compost to develop a project that incentivizes low income residents to exchange compost for fresh produce credits while encouraging better eating practices and saving organic matter from the garbage.
Hello Compost participants are provided with attractive, odor-blocking, freezable bags to store their food waste. The bags are collected by Project EATS, a New York non-profit organization, and then weighed and given a value that translates into credits that can be used to purchase food grown by local farmers. The credits are tracked using a smartphone app. The goal is to close the loop on food waste by connecting agriculture with those who could most benefit from a balanced meal. Cofounder Aly Blenkin says:
We need to re-imagine the role of food waste from being a smelly, unattractive side effect of eating to an attractive resource for residents to positively impact their community and to help put fresh food on the table.
By using good design, technology and urban infrastructure, Hello Compost aims to promote healthy habits in areas that are traditionally overlooked and underserved.
The project, started by Parsons design students Luke Keller and Aly Blenkin, plans to pilot Hello Compost with the approval of the New York City Housing Authority along with Project EATS some time this fall. They are also an entrant into Fast Co. Design Innovation By Design Awards.