Citizen Science: Testing a small-scale rapid aerated composting system for urban environments

Update January 4, 2017: Success! With an abundance of support for this research, the project earned sufficient funds to proceed with the study, and was awarded a $500 grant for placing first in amount of pledged supporters for the project by a common deadline between other projects within the realm of Cities & Transportation on! Thanks for supporting this citizen scientist, Syracuse resident, and backyard forest gardener in their proactive research efforts – we look forward to learning from his findings, and putting them to practice!

A local Syracuse resident is engaging their passion for environmental science and waste management with composting. Through crowdfunding, Ethan Bodnaruk hopes to kick off a science project to explore efficient, decentralized composting systems that can be used throughout Syracuse and other cities around the world. Here is an excerpt from Ethan’s research proposal:

Urban food and yard wastes can contribute in multiple ways to greenhouse gas production and water pollution. But they can instead be transformed into resources through efficient neighborhood-scale composting. I will test and demonstrate the use of a novel small-scale aerated composting system for rapid composting coupled with bicycle-powered collection of neighborhood yard and food wastes. I aim to make it simple and fine-tuned enough to replicate in many locations.

Ethan with compost piles

Almost half way through the crowdfunding campaign, the experiment is just over 50% funded. If you have the means, would you contribute? Visit this experiment’s proposal page to learn more about his qualifications, research idea, its significance and its goals. In any case, this may be something worth considering and sharing to help cities achieve increased resilience, less environmental footprint and degradation, and greater community empowerment and connectivity.

This citizen science crowdfunding is powered by, a site which aims to fund scientific discoveries directly by the public.’s all-or-nothing platform means that projects must reach their funding target based on the stated, public budget, or no one’s pledges are charged. Anyone is able to propose a new experiment, and all experiments funded through this site must be shared openly. has a review team to consider, provide feedback, and scientifically approve experiments before they are open for public funding. Public lab notes serve to communicate the scientific processes and results involved in research projects.


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