New Campus-wide Composting System Launched at Lafayette College

New Campus-wide Composting System Launched at Lafayette College

Press Release

January 8, 2024

Easton, Pennsylvania – Lafayette College launched a new campus-wide food waste composting program this fall, using an odor-controlled In Vessel composting system that automatically processes food waste into compost.

The Earth Flow™ In-Vessel composting system from Green Mountain Technologies (GMT) automatically processes up to 30,000 pounds of compostable materials per month. The system eliminates the environmental impact and financial cost of hauling waste to landfills, while creating valuable compost to enrich soils at “LaFarm,” the on-campus 3-acre farm that provides produce for campus Dining Halls and the local community.

“On-campus composting is an ideal way to convert food waste, which would otherwise have a negative environmental impact, into a high value resource for a regenerative food loop system,” says Delicia Nahman, Sustainability Director. “The In Vessel composting system from Green Mountain Technologies makes it easy to create this environmental value while also saving the college money on landfill disposal costs.”


Lafayette’s composting efforts involve the collection and transportation of food scraps from the dining halls, which is loaded into the Earth Flow composting system.

The program is staffed by a team of 10 Office of Sustainability student-interns. Each day, two members of the team collect food scraps from campus dining halls and other locations on campus. Interns use an electric vehicle to transport the buckets to the composting system.

Inside the Earth Flow™ Automatic Composting System.

“Inside the Earth Flow composting system, the main action is this spinning, rotating auger that has teeth to chop up and mix the material,” said Melissa Adamson, Climate Action and Circularity Manager. “The aeration system also blows air up through the floor, keeping oxygen levels high to ensure that the aerobic microbes thrive, which speeds up the whole process. And the whole system is exhausted into an external biofilter that captures and contains all the odors.”

The day-to-day process is primarily a student-run endeavor. Pierson White ’24 is one of the 10 composting interns who collect and transport the material. “The vessel operates on an automatic cycle,” White explains. “Twice a day, it’ll run and mix all of the materials together, and after about three weeks of being in the vessel, the materials are turned into compost.”

White, who has worked on the Office of Sustainability’s metrics team in the past, was first drawn to the composting job because of its physical nature. “I’m a civil engineer, so I sit down and stare at computer screens all day, which is not great for my body or my eyes,” he says. “I also love the very tangible result of all of the hard work composting interns do—we yield literal compost that will be used at LaFarm.”

The program is part of the Office of Sustainability’s sustainable food loop goal—produce is grown at LaFarm and used in the dining halls, and scraps from that food are then composted and reintegrated into the soil at LaFarm. 

This program also contributes to the College’s waste diversion goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan: 40% waste diversion by 2030 and 60% by 2035.

One of White’s previous projects within the Office of Sustainability was a waste audit, collecting and characterizing the different types of waste being thrown out on campus. “A huge portion of what we found in the trash was compostable material, which is now being diverted away from landfills,” he says.

“We’re thrilled to provide an effective composting solution for Lafayette College,” said GMT Founder Michael Bryan-Brown. “This is one great example of how we are collectively creating a sustainable and regenerative future through individual and group action.”

About Lafayette College
Lafayette College is a private liberal arts institution that was founded in 1826 in Easton, Pa. The College is named after the Marquis de Lafayette, a Revolutionary War hero and influential statesman whose leadership had a direct influence on modern democratic principles across the world through his support of human rights. With 247 full-time faculty members and 2,729 students from 44 U.S. states and territories as well as 60 countries, Lafayette offers a Bachelor of Arts in 34 fields and a Bachelor of Science in 15 fields, including five in engineering. Its 340-acre campus is about 70 miles west of New York City and 60 miles north of Philadelphia. Learn more at

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