Scraps to Soil

The decomposition of organic matter is a natural process that produces carbon dioxide, heat and water vapor. When captured by a recovery system, these resources can be used to generate energy for a building. Scraps to Soil is an architectural project that integrates composting processes with active building systems in order to divert food scraps from landfills, generate renewable energy and maintain resilient communities.

Barriers to composting often include adequate space, proper tools, sufficient knowledge, and time and labor. These barriers significantly impact individuals, and the residential sector contributes the highest percentage of food scraps to landfills. By creating new alignments within existing community networks, open food systems loops that typically end in food waste can be closed with composting. At a Scraps to Soil site, the composting process is elevated front and center as a celebration of the resources to be gained from food scrap recycling. Residents and local businesses have multiple ways of engaging in the composting process, and doing so directly improves soil health and access to fresh produce within the neighborhood.

Scraps to Soil proposes community-scale composting centers in urban and suburban areas that turn waste streams into shared resources with shared benefits. At a neighborhood composting center, food scraps are collected from homes, businesses and institutions, composted on-site, and turned into renewable energy and healthy soil. Simultaneously, labor and tools are shared and knowledge is accumulated.

Today’s economy is driven by commodities, and waste streams are becoming increasingly hidden. Scraps to Soil proposes a formal and fun articulation of food scraps, attempting to shift the paradigm from waste to resource. By emphasizing compost’s role in resource regeneration, cultural notions of use and reuse can be positively transformed, bringing communities closer to the food they create and consume.
Faculty Advisor:
Gina Reichert