Wanted: New Home For Compost Trailblazer
by Allan Appel, New Haven Independent, May 5, 2023
“Now I feel I’m more like a waste hauler than a visionary composter,” said New Haven’s pioneering organic-scraps-repurposer and eco-idealist Domingo Medina.
That’s because Medina now has to find a new place to make mulch thanks to the pending sale of the Fair Haven farm site that he and his pedal-powered composting colleagues have long called home.
Medina’s Peels & Wheels Composting charges subscribers $7.50 per week to help them divert food waste from the landfill and the incinerator and repurpose it as nutrient-rich soil.
He expressed that sober yet still optimistic assessment on a crystalline bright Wednesday morning as he surveyed the Phoenix Press Farm site, at the end of James Street across from Criscuolo Park. Medina, who founded his composting business in 2014, is now in final preparations to leave that site as the press is in the concluding stages of selling the property.
Although Peels & Wheels is thriving now and will continue, Medina is able to process into mulch only two of the four tons of organic scraps he and his fast-pedaling employees collect from 470 customers every week.
For growth to continue, however, and for Medina’s vision of a kind of perfect circle of environmental development and environmental justice to evolve, he urgently needs to find a new site to accelerate his capacity.
“I spend more time in the truck,” he lamented, as he pointed to his grey pick-up, hauling the waste to a composting site at the Common Ground High School (which operation he was instrumental in developing); to West Haven’s com-posting operation (on which he also consulted); and, soon to the transfer station in Hamden, where the load will then be transported to an anaerobic digester in Southington.
“So my cost is doubled to take care of moving this material out of the city and every week I have to rent a trailer. That goes counter to my model of recycling within our community. I don’t know where it’s [ultimately] going, and I have to pay tipping fees [for it to get there],” he said.
The problem is that for the past year or so Medina has not been able to find a permanent site where he can invest in equipment and increase his own capacity.
Read the article in its entirety at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/article/composting_visonary_eyes_new_haven