LINCOLN SQUARE — Chicago’s first zero-emissions compost collection service has expanded its fleet with an electric van purchased thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.
“Although we didn’t meet the gold standard of our goal, we were still actually able to secure the electric van,” said Liam Donnelly, co-founder of WasteNot Compost. “So now we’re looking to hire a pickup team to help with the driving.”
As of Sept. 17 the GoFundMe campaign for the electric van has raised $11,115 of it $25,000 goal.
Donnelly and Lauren Kaszuba co-founded WasteNot Compost back in 2012. They were both in high school at the time and serviced 12 households and three cafés.
In order to be a zero emissions service, Donnelly has been riding a bicycle, towing the the compost in a small trailer behind him. This made sense for the initial customer base, but as the business has expanded — it currently serves about 1,000 accounts in 22 neighborhoods — it became much less feasible.
“I’m so excited about the van. For almost six years it was impossible to hire team members without the van,” he said. “So having it now it’s so much easier to grow a good team.”
The van and additional hires will help WasteNot partner with larger businesses and institutions while continuing to be a zero emissions company, he said.
“We’re pretty excited because it’ll allow Lauren and I to focus on the strategy of the business in the long run, expand our service area,” Donnelly said. “And we’ll also be able to provide jobs to other Chicagoans in the sustainability scene.”
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