20 Years of Sustainability
The satisfying quietude of pedals powering tires on a bike path surround Pedal People members as they work. Waves and hellos to passersby pepper rides as bikes transport trash, recycling and compost from neighborhoods and downtowns to transfer centers. For over twenty years, Pedal People has served the Northampton area with their human-powered hauling service, encouraging a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative in hauling.
Pedal People was founded in 2002 by two Northampton residents seeking to build a business using bicycles to replace fossil fuel use. Intentionally starting during the winter to ensure business sustainability, they grew with a major expansion in 2006 when they received their first contract with the City of Northampton to empty downtown trash and recycling bins.
“Last year was our 20th Anniversary. This is a long-term, stable business that could be adapted to other places” reported Ethan Tupelo, worker member. “We are happy to talk to people to have something get started elsewhere.”
Pedal People has become one of the major haulers in Northampton and Easthampton and is the only locally-owned hauler in the area. They have a growing yard care business that uses non-gas-powered tools. At 28 members, they are the second largest worker co-op in membership in western Massachusetts.
Pedal People inspires us all to use bikes and cooperation for their everyday needs. Bike paths are now open and treated all year round, thanks in part to their advocacy. Pedal People are also founding members of the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives (VAWC), building a cooperative economy in their region through intercooperation, education and more. VAWC has supported nine conversions to worker co-ops and Tupelo sits on the board.
“Let’s save the trucks for the things they’re really useful for. For all of the local things, where most of our transportation happens, trucks and gas-powered vehicles are some of the most inefficient vehicles you could use in terms of energy use.” reported Tupelo.
Be a part of a cooperative and sustainable solution. Consider Pedal People the next time you need to move trash, recycling, compost or practically anything under 300 pounds. www.pedalpeople.coop • 413.586.8591
Written by Dylan Hatch and Adam Trott.