Alum manages waste program run by bicycles

Joey Teseroni, a 2009 Temple alumnus, is working as an unpaid administrator at Pedal Co-Op, a recycling compost service run by bicycles.

Joey Teseroni, a 2009 Temple alumnus, is working as an unpaid administrator at Pedal Co-Op, a recycling compost service run by bicycles.

Joey Teseroni didn’t intend to become coordinator for the Pedal Co-Op when he first went to volunteer about one year ago. He’d heard about the event from a friend who was involved and decided to help out for a day.

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“They had a compost work day I went and volunteered,” Teseroni, a 2009 Temple grad with a degree in mechanical engineering, said. “Just from talking to the guys, I kind of fell in love with the concept.”

The Pedal Co-Op is a recycling compost service run by bicycles. Because businesses are expected to pay the city for the pickup of their waste and recyclables, some find it more efficient and sustainable to hire Pedal to do the city’s work for them.

“We’re kind of a green alternative to trucks,” Teseroni said. “We were actually the first compost-hauling service in the city, too.”

After that first day working with Pedal, Teseroni became a regular volunteer for the West Philadelphia-based organization, and over time he acquired more responsibility as other members had less time to dedicate to it.

There are about eight members of the Pedal Co-Op currently, and each has different responsibilities and routes he or she takes each day.

“We have a schedule set up so that each member has their own runs,” Teseroni said. “Some go out once a week, some go out a few times a week. And some are very concentrated in one location, like one stop at a big building and multiple stops along the way.”

Teseroni said there are somewhere between 60 and 70 clients of the Pedal Co-Op, some small and some big – with Trader Joe’s being one of the largest. Pedal doesn’t have a real home for its organization, but instead simply a storage place in West Philly for its bike trailers and other supplies. All of the administrative work for Pedal, Teseroni said, is done from home.

“Another kid from Temple is working on creating a map for us to make a more efficient route,” he said.

Pedal Co-Op bikers often have to travel more than 7 miles during one route from their start to the recycling center. For compost, though, drop-off locations are different sites around West Philadelphia, one being a community garden.

The idea of bicycle pickup of recycling and compost is nothing new – in fact, Teseroni said Pedal is in touch with similar programs in Boston and even British Columbia.
“We have been contacted by other programs related to us, and we all give each other advice,” he said. “Right now we’re kind of in a transition period with becoming a non-profit and me trying to evaluate some efficiency methods, so it’s difficult.”

In May, Teseroni is going on a summer-long trip and, after that, to Washington state to pursue an Americorps position. After he’s gone, he’ll need someone to replace him.
“We’re creating a paid coordinator position with a salary, and there’s more involved,” Teseroni said.

As of now, he said, members just get paid for the pickups they make, but there’s no incentive for work on the administrative side – which justifies the need for a paid position. However, Teseroni sees Pedal as the perfect way to combine a favorite hobby and an important cause.

“I’m a caterer too, so that’s how I really make my money,” he said, “but [Pedal]’s great. It’s just riding around the city all day.”

Carlene Majorino can be reached at

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