Gio Andollo, 26, couldn't convince his four roomates to install a worm-driven composting bin in their Harlem kitchen.
So he stores his coffee grounds, vegetable peels, fruit pits and other organic waste in the freezer and hauls it to the Union Square Greenmarket once a week. There, a group from the Lower East Side Ecology Center intercepts the vegetarian's trash and nurtures it into rich, dark soil.
Better than zero impact "is having a positive impact," said Andollo. "With composting, you're repurposing your trash into future growth" while preserving landfill space.
Andollo, a self-described Christian pacifist freegan vegetarian anarchist, never stops thinking of ways to live more lightly on beleagured planet earth.
"Over-consumption is hurting us and our culture," said Andollo, who pays less than $400 a month for rent and earns about $14,000 a year as a subway busker and music teacher.
He forages for almost all he eats. Tuesday night sidewalk sorties through store trash in Morningside Heights yield an astonishing array of slightly bruised fruits and vegetables, baked goods deemed unsuitable for next day sale, prepared salads and frozen vegetarian entrees. "I don't see it as garbage. I see it as food," said the frugal gourmet. "Most of what I get is organic."
He shoots out requests on his church listserv, where he also volunteers his services as a mover, if he needs a camera, bike helmet or iPod. And he gives away what he doesn't need and takes what he does at the The Really Really Free Market 3 - 7 p.m., the last Sunday of every month at Judson Memorial Church.
There is one conservation measure he has yet to implement. "Do you know about greywater?" he asked breathlessly, "You take a pipe out of the bathroom sink and replace it with a bucket. Instead of flushing the toilet, you grab the bucket of dirty water and pour it in the toilet."
"That," he said wistfully, "is something I would LOVE to do."