Bios & Background

 

About Lee and How Philly Compost was first conceived


Lee Meinicke earned her MBA in Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. While there, she became intrigued with the idea of replicating the large-scale composting enterprise that serves Seattle by composting yard and food wastes. They are Cedar Grove Composting, and the photo below (right) is of their operation.


With a team of fellow students (below left, L-R: Aldan Shank, Kirk Myers, Loren Bors, and Marco Pinchot; Frost Keaton, not shown), she learned a lot about commercial composting during no fewer than five courses. She then wrote an overly ambitious business plan, and got some fabulous graphics help from another fellow student (Zac West at IDeology).  Feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the undertaking, Lee did nothing.  For awhile. 

Then in 2009, inspired by the “can do” attitudes of Sustainable Mt Airy members, she created this website and launched Philly Compost with support from Meenal Raval.

Lee’s current community activities include serving on the Board of The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia.

Early Co-Founder Meenal Raval


Meenal is currently reducing carbon footprints in the transportation realm through her shop, Philly Electric Wheels, and as head of The Pedal Coop, providing bicycle collection of recycleables and compostables in West Philadelphia.

Meenal stepped away from full-time employment in 2000 to explore the world of voluntary simplicity. She has since co-founded the Mt Airy Greening Net with Betsy, Ameet, Steve & Bonnie as well as the more widely recognized PhillyFreecycle, a free online materials exchange which now serves over 10,000 households with no paid staff, no warehouse and no inventory, just a dozen or so dedicated volunteers. As a key organizer of the April 2007 Step it Up Philly rally demanding 80% carbon reduction by 2050, Meenal is proud to have reduced her own household's carbon emissions by over 60% in the last 2 years.

While simplifying her life, Meenal observed that reduced material consumption led to reduced waste generation. In 2001, with support from her brother Ameet, she began composting on her balcony with worms in a plastic bin. Impressed with her waste diversion (86%, of which 48% was composted), investment was made in a stacking Can-o-worms. Upon moving to a house with a backyard in 2005, Meenal splurged on a used Compost Tumbler from friend and chef Lindsay Gilmour of Organic Planet. For the past 2 years, about 6 neighbors have been adding to her compost bin(s), which necessitated giving up the tumbling composter and scaling up to the more economical and modular wire mesh bin made of 1/2" hardware cloth and twist-ties.

These shared backyard bins were the inspiration for the Philly Compost map, to document as well as encourage shared composting in Philadelphia.

About Jennifer Mastalerz


Jen joined the Philly Compost team in July of 2010.  Her professional background is in architecture, but recently she decided to explore other career options.  When looking for a job opportunity in urban agriculture, she stumbled upon Philly Compost and has been with us ever since.  

The Compost Coop was her brainchild, as is the bicycle service in/near 19125 - her Fishtown neighborhood. 

You'll also see Jen getting her hands dirty doing compost pick-ups on some days and cleaned up and doing marketing and sales on others.  She's excited to help Philly Compost continue to grow and expand its services throughout Philadelphia!