Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Pedal Power And Recycling: Breaking Away To Greener Living

Bloomington-based Pedal Power tries to save the earth one bike ride at a time. Chad Roeder is the brawn behind the brains of this operation.

Chad Roeder stands with his bike in front of a row of trash cans

Photo: Alycin Bektesh/WFIU

Despite finding great success in establishing his "earth friendly" enterprise, Chad has endured an intense journey towards life as a bike delivery guy.

Bloomington-based Pedal Power, established by Chad Roeder, tries to save the earth one bike ride at a time.  Roeder left New York to start a new life, and he wants you to join him in leaving a lighter footprint on this great green earth of ours.

At Bloomington Pedal Power, they do all sorts of deliveries, but today we’re focusing on the work they do with local eateries in terms of recycling. The majority of restaurants use similar recyclables: glass bottles, plastic bottles, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum cans, and steel.

If it can be recycled, Chad and Bloomington Pedal Power are there. Despite finding great success in establishing his “earth friendly” enterprise, Chad has endured an intense journey towards life as a bike delivery guy.

From Big City To Small Town

Before moving to Bloomington, Chad was working on a film in Manhattan, “For many years, I was not really green…I didn’t really think about it. I was concerned about myself.” His whole outlook on life changed when the planes hit the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Chad remembers how close he’d come to being at the center of the attack:

If I’d gone (to work) that morning, when my alarm went off, that would’ve put me in the World Trade Center at 9:00… that was a wake-up call.

The terror attacks got him thinking more about sustainability and “global vs. local.” Not long after that frightful day in September, Chad decided it was time to relocate.

He soon found himself in Bloomington, Indiana and it wasn’t much longer before he decided it was time to find  his place in the green movement. After another near-death experience when the brakes on his car went out, he suddenly thought “There’s no delivery service utilizing a bicycle…and it was one of those things that really felt right.”

Why Drive A Truck?

Since its inception in May 2008, Bloomington Pedal Power has helped to divert 80 tons of recycling from the landfill. They recycle roughly two tons of materials every week.

When asked about the key to managing such a large load, Chad states, “diversity is the name of the game, staying creative…do whatever you can on a bike if it’s practical. Why drive a truck if you don’t have to?”

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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