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Composting as Community Building

A master composter in New Haven is on a mission to transform what the city's people do with their organic waste.

Domingo Medina, founder and owner of Peels & Wheels Composting, is New Haven's top “composting coach.” Medina is investigating how the previous practice of feeding garbage to pigs—once common in the United States— evolved, and why it ceased.

One source in Medina’s research is “A People's Guide to Infrastructure in New Haven,” researched and written by students at Yale University, which notes, “New Haven...persisted feeding hogs garbage, insisting that that method was better than incinerators or other removal systems. Twenty out of 66 American cities with more than 100,000 residents used hogs as a method of trash removal by 1918. The custom ended up directly causing a series of trichinosis cases in the 1930s.”

Medina is also exploring how a more contemporary approach to separating organic waste might benefit future generations..

Peels &Wheels Composting provides a pedal-powered compost service to residents, small businesses and schools throughout New Haven and adjacent towns, providing a cleaner, greener 21st-century alternative to dumping in landfills. Employing bikes, bins, and trailers, the Peels &Wheels team collects kitchen scraps and other biodegradable materials on a weekly basis and processes them for composting. In addition to mitigating environmental pollution from the incineration of trash, Peels &Wheels performs soil analyses, provides training and education, creates green jobs and builds community.

Source: New Haven Museum

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