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“Pedal People” Instead of Garbage Trucks in Northampton


NORTHAMPTON, Mass (WGGB) – Northampton residents had to bring their own trash to a transfer station or use a contracted truck company to dispose of waste.

That was until Ruthy Woodring moved into town ten years ago and began the “Pedal People Co-op” with her friend, Alex.

The business began with just one customer, and now they are stonger than ever with over 600 customers- making about 20-thousand deliveries a year!

And of course now they are physically stronger as well. They ride on their two wheels carrying an average of about 300 pounds on a trailer with stacked bins carrying the trash behind them.

If you live in town, the bikers are visible. Woodring says she often hears, “Yeah go pedal people! Or she hears parents remark to their children, “Look there’s a pedal person!” while on route.

The pedal people are out during the winter and through all conditions. “Usually we just dress for it.  We also have studded tires that we can put on our bicycles for icy conditions,” says Woodring.

And it is clear their loyal customers appreciate what they do for the community.  “Some tell us it makes them more aware of how much trash and recycling they make because they think of us hauling it all away,” Ruthy says.  “I feel like I have a sense of job security based on my relationships with people who are my neighbors,” she adds.

This human powered business is successful, simple, environmentally sound and in Ruthy’s words… “It’s fun! I get to be outside, I get to be using my body and there just aren’t many jobs like this in our culture.”

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