By Joe Rossiter
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer
Driven by a commitment to the environment and the need for convenient curbside recycling, one Detroit resident is making efficient use of pedal power as a way of promoting greener practices.
Vanita Mistry, 26, is the founder of Detroit Greencycle, a local curbside pickup business for households and small businesses, but what's even more unusual about this one-woman operation is that she does it by bicycle.
Four days a week before heading out to her day job, Mistry straps an 8-foot trailer to her mountain bike and pedals for several hours through a number of Detroit neighborhoods, including Clark Park, the Eastern Market district and Corktown to pick up recyclables and compost from her regular customers.
"I enjoy what I'm doing because it gives me a feeling of satisfaction," said the native of Rugby, England. "There's nothing quite like having a trailer full of recyclable trash to make you feel like you've made a difference in your life."
Mistry, who lives in Corktown, founded Detroit Greencycle in 2010 after becoming frustrated with the lack of a viable curbside recycling program in Detroit.
She has 35 customers, but as word of mouth spreads she hopes to increase business. "I'm a firm believer that the easier you make it to recycle the more people will do it," she said. "Of course, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't do it in this day and age."
Once a customer signs up for the year-round service, Mistry provides the recycle bins and charges $20 a month for weekly pickups and $15 for biweekly pickups.
She totes twelve 18-gallon bins on her trailer, with a capacity to carry up to 300 pounds. Mistry separates plastic, cardboard, paper, glass and aluminum. She also collects composting material.
The material is delivered to Recycle Here, a Detroit-based recycling business.
A graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in mechanical engineering, Mistry worked at General Motors for a couple of years before deciding that corporate America wasn't her cup of tea.
She is employed as a community resource coordinator for Southwest Counseling Solution, a nonprofit in southwest Detroit.
"I find that I'm driven more by public service and giving back," Mistry said. "What motivates me is knowing I'm making a difference in the work I'm doing, and I've found that Greencycle is one of many ways I strive to make a difference in my community."
More Details: Detroit Greencycle
What the leader does: Provides curbside pickup of recyclables and compost on a weekly or biweekly basis. Pickup is limited to one 18-gallon bin for recyclables and one 5-gallon compost bin. Additional bins for each are available for an additional $10 a month.
Website: www. detroit greencycle .com