Pacia Purcell: Project Proposal

Overview: The overall goal of this project is to implement composting on campus to reduce the amount of food wasted here on campus.

Firstly I want to research and find all the places on campus that would benefit from the fertilizer produced by composting, such as the flower beds and gardens and possibly the greenhouse.

For my project I also want to research the amount of money composting would save the university. Money is spent through throwing food waste away, which then ends up in dumpsters, and then the university pays to have these dumpsters emptied. I plan to find out how much food is wasted and thrown away and how much dumpster space the food waste takes up. Additionally through composting fertilizer is made. I plan to calculate the amount of money the university currently pays for fertilizer. I will then combine the savings from both calculations to come up with an overall savings for the implementation of composting.

I recently visited Aleks Ilich, who composts in town. He used to take food scraps from Smith, but recently stopped due to their lack of cooperation. I would like to see if Aleks would be willing to start taking food scraps from Smith again if we worked with the Smith to ensure their cooperation.

Also, I know the Seminary Hill Farm is very interested in composting for their gardens. I want to meet with representatives from the farm in order to incorporate our efforts with theirs.

Lastly, my visit with Aleks has inspired me to start composting myself. I want to start a small worm colony myself for all of the food scraps from the house I live in (Honors House).


Fertilizer on Campus

  • Talk to Buildings and Grounds to find the landscapers used on campus
  • Talk to the landscapers to find out how much fertilizer they use and how much it costs
  • Talk to professors who use the greenhouse and find out what fertilizer and how much fertilizer is used


  • Over the period of a week calculate the total amount (weight and volume) of food waste from Smith
  • Find out how much the Delaware Waste people charge per dumpster
  • Calculate how much of the dumpster is taken up by food waste
  • Calculate how much fertilizer could be produced (talk to Aleks for this) to find out how much could be put towards the university’s needs

Food Scraps for Immediate composting

  • Talk to the person in charge of Chartwells to see if they would be willing to set aside food scraps for Aleks to take
  • Talk to Aleks and see if he would be willing to take the scraps again

Seminary Farm Hill

  • Go visit the farm and see what they’re all about
  • Talk to them about starting composting there

Small scale composting

  • Ask my housemates to save food waste
  • Prepare tubs (found in my closet) for worm composting
  • Buy worms and start composting


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