Décomposition über Decay (also known as DÜD), is an urban compost pick up service by über cyclists serving our Montreal neighborhood of Nôtre-Dame- de-Grâce.
What is DÜD? It’s about providing you an easy way to getting rid of your organic kitchen scraps via their quiet and friendly über cyclists, who will transport them to a composter hosted by a neighbour in the near vicinity. Simply put, their über hosts provide you space in the city for your kitchen scraps to decompose into sweet smelling, living, & fertile earth!
After reading an article about DÜD in the NDG Free Press written by Roger Haughey (my college Philosophy teacher- so neat!), I knew I wanted to find out more information about this wonderful business. As a NDG resident who has always wished there were composts set up for my apartment, I was intrigued.
The lovely founder, Woo-Mi Yoo, was nice enough to do an interview with me to provide more insight into DÜD.
What inspired you to create DÜD?
I attended a series of permaculture classes and from that experience I wanted to do something concrete and immediate in my neighborhood. In many ways I was inspired by my neighborhood in finding the problem and also to figure out a solution.
Why did you think this was an important issue?
Well, we have a lot of stuff that goes in the garbage that doesn’t make sense. Our municipality doesn’t provide a compost pick up service. You can go really inexpensive and compost on your own but for most options for composting for NDGers are limited if you don’t have space and time.
How did you come up with the name?
I wanted the name to reflect NDG and a service dedicated in an urban area. I also wanted to rethink the word decay and decline, things can be falling apart but on the flip side what is gained?
Are you the sole founder or do you have a partner?
I am working alone, no accomplices, hahaha! Many people help shape the business with awesome advice and suggestions.
What were some of the challenges you faced while starting the business?
Well, there have been a few bumps but not many. I made the classic mistake of misspelling my company name on the first batch of door flyers and having to make stickers to cover the mistake for all 150 flyers!
How did you first get people to be the compost hosts?
I just listened to people in my community and when somebody started taking about needing help with composting, I told them about my company. When I told my first Über host the size the compost bin that would be installed 3x3x6 feet, she asked if we had anything bigger! My second Über host offered both her front and back yard to host our composters.
How many employees are you currently employing?
At this moment, I have one other Über cyclist working for us.
How does one become a host or cyclist?
You can become a host by visiting our website and filling out a form. It really depends on the needs of our company, at this moment we have more than enough Über Hosts and Über Cyclists. (Forms can be found here to become a cyclist and here to become a host).
How long are the shifts for the cyclists?
The shifts are usually 2 hours but it can go as long as 4 hours depending on how many pick-ups we do.
The soil that is created by participants go to community gardens. How many gardens are you currently providing with compost?
It really depends, at this time in the season, the compost is for the Über Host but that could change depending on the Über Host.
How does a community garden enroll in receiving the compost?
Simply email us.
As an Über Host, how much space is needed for one of your compost bins to be built?
The compost bin is 3x3x6 feet, ideally in a sunny area with easy access for our bike and wagon to come through.
How do Düds pick up the pails/buckets if the customer is living in an apartment, condo etc?
We decide on a designated spot just outside the apartment for our pails, most often we chose the same area as the recycling bins.
Do you plan on expanding out of NDG?
No, I don’t plan on expanding out of NDG – it’s really important for me to do something with my own two hands and in general it’s the idea of not feeling helpless and dependant on complex ideas or processes. Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is where I live and play and where I want to improve in some small way.
Do you plan on eventually running throughout the winter?
You know there has been a lot of interest from people who would like winter composting, especially people who already compost in their own backyards but cannot in the winter. It really depends how the business does this season April to October, if we have a lot of Members who are interested and cyclist who are willing to cycle in the cold, extending the service period is a possibility.
What benefits will local agriculture gain from this?
It’s a full cycle, food is eaten, scraps decomposed in backyards and then used to create more local food.
Is the compost completely donated or is there a fee for the community garden to receive the soil?
The compost is donated. There different elements of the company, first it operates to make profit by providing a service and in turn creates local jobs. There is also the gift exchange element, land is borrowed for free and compost is given in exchange. I’m extremely grateful for the Über hosts who allow us the use of their property.
Who provides/ where do you as the company get the buckets?
I purchase new buckets from a supplier. We also ask local shop owners to not throw away their plastic buckets and we repurpose them for our company!
What is done with the buckets once they have been emptied at a host’s location? Are they washed and then reused?
We wash the buckets thoroughly and re-use them for the following week.
Are there set times for the Düds to pick up the buckets?
We pick up Sunday morning between 8 am and noon.
What are your future goals and plans for the company?
I have so many young people who want to work as Über Cyclists, I’d like to company to grow enough to sustain more employees. I’d like to the company to reflect and represent NDG – there’s a lot of things happening in NDG and Décomposition Über Decay is part of that.
Thank you so much to Woo-Mi Yoo for taking the time to be interviewed. I really appreciate it and I wish you the best of luck with DÜD; it is a wonderful concept and NDG thanks you!
About Woo-Mi Yoo
With a background in Applied Arts from Ryerson University in Toronto & currently working in administration, she is also a mother, social entrepreneur and for the past five years community busy-bee in NDG. Her afterhours are focused on raising her two children, picking up compost by bike for her neighbours at Décomposition Über Decay, and collective gardening or hanging out with friends and neighbors at other such joyful community gatherings and events transitioning/transforming/connecting Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.