During the time of COVID-19 lockdowns, I found myself living again at my parent’s house in the suburbs of New York City. Since moving out of their home several years ago, one thing has particularly irked me every time I come back, and that is the fact that they don’t compost. Neither their city nor the state have bio-waste collection programs and since they don’t garden, they have never had the incentive to start their own composting pile.

These compost bins were created with the materials, tools, and waste products in my parents’ suburban home. They are intended to be conceptual prototypes that would have the opportunity for further refinement with proper studio facilities. On the other hand, as they exist now, they are feasible for practically anyone to make in their own home. I will also present in this section a film photography project which highlights compost and food scraps. My inten- tion by featuring the things that we toss or let rot is to bring awareness to the quality and quantity of the edible goods we throw away.

Household food scraps that are placed into landfill-bound trash end up becoming methane emitting detriments when the landfills are sealed up. I realized however, that this isn’t only an issue my parents face, but that there is an overall lack of composting education and programs in American suburbs. It’s evident that the rapid growth of suburbs in the United States has had copious negative effects on the nation’s food system all of which effectively have widespread effects on the social justice of those in less fortunate circumstances.

hue and texture

coffee grounds



eggshells & miscellaneous 

structure and stability

semi-cylindrical clay mold test

succesful test mold

thick pulp layering

<- result from test mold


step 1

step 2

Dig a hole, at least 6 inches deeper than the height of the bin.

Place the bin inside the hole.

Pour some water on top of the bin, to spead up the breakdown process.

Cover up, tightly, with dirt, rocks, sticks, and dry leaves.

Depending on the temperature and moisture of the ground, it will take slightly different amounts of time for the matter to decompose. However, it should be approximately 12 weeks. If you have an existing compost bin or turner, you can also place the bins directly in there. The method pre- sented here is not with the intention that the compost will then be introduced into a garden. Again, it is rather to divert food waste from the landfill in order to prevent the creation of harmful greenhouse gases.

Detailed information about this project, its development, and further resources can be found on pages 61-96 of my bachelor thesis book, Empathies of Consumption.