Monthly Archives: September 2012

The New York Times Says: Spend a Little More

The New York Times Case for Spending a Little More

I am so guilty of the patterns Carl Richards describes here: buying the bargain option that isn’t quite right or quite what you want. And I completely agree with the case he makes for changing that behavior!

Within reason (and budget), I’m trying to change how I make decisions with my money. Will a few dollars’ difference mean I truly enjoy and use the thing I want? Will the cheaper version make me feel like a prudent, hunter-gatherer winner today but end up being a disappointment or nuisance later?

As a corollary (maybe an inverse corollary?) I’m also trying to let price help me make decisions where I don’t know what I want. If I can’t decide which of two things’ attributes will make me happier as an owner/user/wearer/eater, that’s definitely the moment to save some dollars. And if I’m lucky, I’ll learn something from my decision.


New kid on the block: compost bike

Top speed: 100 miles/hour, I think.

Make way in the bike lane for the newest thing in biking and do-gooding! This new project, the NYC Excess Bodega Bike, combines some of my favorite things: Spain, innovation, and environmentalism, and puts them on wheels in the form of a custom cargo bike. Like something Mrs. Armitage would ride, this Franken-bike can weigh, carry, and compost food picked up from small, food-centered businesses like coffee shops and markets that are throwing it out. The edible food can still be eaten, the waste won’t end up in a landfill, and the compost will end up at a community garden. Winning!

This project was originally done in Madrid and known as Mermas Carrito, but the Bodega Bike bike was put together during a free, collaborative workshop at Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward, which is how I found out about it. Though the pick-up service is meant to be temporary, Excess is only partnering with businesses “in exchange for a commitment from the participating businesses to improve their food waste practices.”

Now I’m going to give away one of my million-dollar ideas: why not set this up as a social-purpose business? Waste disposal is a serious cost for businesses, and if someone can develop a business model that makes diverting organic waste to a composting program more affordable for anyone in the food industry, you’ve just won yourself a lot of clients. Coffee shops would hire you to pick up all those used-up grounds, and then someone else pays you for the compost you’ve produced with it. People are paying you left and right to just take care of a mountain of dirt, and the environment and your bank account are flush with green. I’ve been promising myself to look into this for some time.

Drop me a line if you want to go into business together. In the meantime, keep up with the food rescue and compost project on Excess NYC’s site, whose blog also has lots of other great learning for ya.