|Meet Rob Martin, the Bike Courier
Get to know the guy whose pedal-powered (and petal-empowering!) bike courier service helps Austin's and Enzio's deliver on our commitment to composting - meet Rob Martin!
Composting: Our contribution to a Beautiful Downtown.
With the official arrival of spring, downtown Fort Collins is in full bloom as a vibrant community center and a favorite strolling spot for locals and visitors alike. One way Austin's Downtown and Enzio's Italian Kitchen contribute to the ambience (aside from their always-popular patio seating)? Garbage. More specifically, food waste from the kitchens, which eventually finds its way into high-quality compost used to enrich the soil in the city's downtown flower beds and planters. And to keep things even greener, the restaurants rely on Rob's Bike Courier Service and owner Rob Martin to collect the food waste and deliver it via bicycle, to be transformed once again into food - for the flowers! Martin estimates he takes an average of 150 - 200 pounds of food waste from Austin's and Enzio's each week. "The amount of food waste diverted from the landfill by Austin's is around 10,000 pounds and from Enzio's, 5,000 pounds since the program started," Martin said.
(Above: Rob Martin pulls a trailer full of materials to be composted)
Martin takes the food waste via his bike trailer to the small-scale in-vessel compost units (called "Earth Tubs") that were purchased as part of a pilot project by the City of Fort Collins using federal funding available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
(Above: Rob Martin dumps Austin's/Enzio's into the Earth Tub)
"The nearest appropriately-permitted commercial composting facility is near Commerce City," said Susie Gordon, senior environmental planner for the City of Fort Collins, "so hauling the food waste via diesel trucks defeats the purpose, in terms of carbon footprint." Gordon said that the Earth Tubs have allowed the city and the participating businesses to take steps toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by diverting organic debris like food waste from the landfill. Given that organic waste makes up around 30% of the landfill space, composting can make a real impact, Gordon said. In looking for restaurant partners for composting, Gordon said the city approached Austin's first because of the restaurant's long-standing partnership with the Fort Collins Climate Wise program.
In addition to pickup and delivery of the food waste, Martin trains the Austin's and Enzio's staff on the ins and outs of diverting kitchen food waste appropriately. When Martin showed an interest in learning how to use and maintain the Earth Tubs, Gordon was all for it - and she said the results have been evident. The parks department employees who use the compost for downtown planting projects are very impressed by the quality, Gordon said, touting its contribution to fertile soil and healthier plants.
(Above: Rob Martin digs through finished compost from the Earth Tubs)
"I worked for six different large restaurant chains before coming to Enzio's," said general manager Jon Shaffer, "and not one of them did any composting. It's nice to see a local restaurant group like ours making the effort. When I walk around downtown and see all the planters, it's feels good to think 'maybe we contributed to that'."
See Rob Martin and the city's composting program highlighted in this video: "City Projects that Zoom" (Rob shows up at about the 1:50 mark).