As Messiah College’s first-ever waste diversion coordinator, Adam Arditi ’13 works to create a more sustainable campus each day by picking up pre- and post-consumer food waste from Lottie Nelson Dining Hall and pre-consumer food waste from the Union Café and transporting the waste to campus composting piles.
After spending a semester in the Creation Care Studies Program in New Zealand his sophomore year, Arditi, a studio art major, caught the bug for practicing a sustainable and hands-on approach for using the natural resources available to him. The semester-long program focuses on Biblical stewardship and allows students to participate in homestays, cultural activities and ecological studies while also learning creation care habits such as composting. Composting, says Arditi, provides a practical way to use campus resources while helping the campus community as a whole to be faithful stewards of the environment.
“Composting keeps things in a good, healthy cycle that applies on many levels,” said Arditi. “We’ve got all this food that’s not all being eaten. Instead of putting it into a landfill where it’s never going to properly decompose, we can put it in a process that utilizes those nutrients that will eventually come back to us.”
What is that process? Working with dining services, grounds and the biology department, Arditi collects the food waste, including preparation scraps (pre-consumer) and excess food that students don’t eat (post-consumer) and transports it to an area of campus known as the “back 40.” Grounds staff adds leaves, grass clippings and other dry, carbon-rich matter to meet the piles’ decomposition needs and to protect the piles from wildlife. Next, they monitor and turn the piles to help accelerate the decomposition process. The resulting compost is used for landscaping needs around the College, including the Grantham Community Garden, the athletic fields and flower beds.
“Compost keeps your soil diverse by providing a lot of nutrients and minerals,” said Arditi. “It also helps keep the soil aerated. Instead of paying money to buy compost, we are able to use the resources we have available on campus to make it ourselves.”
In addition to managing those daily tasks, Arditi also used his art expertise to partner with professor David Kasperak’s Graphic Design and Professional Practice class to develop a campaign—The Waste Revolt—to promote food waste awareness on campus. “We compost an average of 260 pounds per day of post-consumer food waste,” said Arditi. “The goal of this campaign is to encourage students to be more mindful of how much food they take versus what they will consume.”
Through a series of fact-driven posters, and an interactive food-waste diagram that measures daily pre- and post- consumer waste in Lottie and tracks weekly progress, the class created meaningful artwork that Arditi hopes will have an impact on students.
For Arditi, the entire process—from learning about composting to implementing it—has been rewarding, and he sees nothing but future success for the project.
“Because of Adam’s role we are able to compost all of the post-consumer waste at Lottie,” said campus sustainability director Craig Dalen. “If you multiply that over a year, that’s how many pounds of food waste he is diverting from the landfill that we instead use on campus. Adam’s been single-handedly the person who has taken it from idea to conception. Because of Adam, we are on track to continue to be a zero-food-waste facility in Lottie.”
Erin Bray ’10
Posted on February 27th, 2013