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Reducing waste a thousand times over

March 13, 2011

In the last few months of deafening silence, I’ve had about a thousand silent guests in my home doing some very important work. Reducing waste that would go to landfills. You’ve guessed by now – I’m talking about worms. Oh, you didn’t guess?

Back tracking a little, I took a composting class in downtown NYC where some very capable instructors took us through the How-tos of composting. We walked through what can and cannot be composted, how to start and then finally, how to harvest the vermicompost. A fortnight later I was the proud owner of a worm bin and a pound of worms – which is about a thousand. Don’t balk – thousand is not much. They can only go through about 3 lbs of food scrap a week, way less than an average household that cooks produces. And we cook every day. Below in pictures are the step-by-step of how I went about setting the worm bin up.

  1. Shred newspapers into strips. Color is fine but stay away from glossy/ thick paper.
  2. Wet the newspaper in a bucket of water and wring it out completely.
  3. Get 1 year old daughter and cat to help with the project
  4. Fill up about 3/4th of the worm bin with these newspapers.
  5. Empty the worms in! red wiggler worms work well for indoor composting. If you are composting outdoors it means you have all sorts of great worms and bugs and you have enough space so I don’t want to talk to you.
  6. Start feeding your worms!

You can feed the worms everyday but like I mentioned earlier since they can only eat about 3 lbs a week, it’s easy to lose sight of how much you’re feeding them. Just like not feeding enough is dangerous, over feeding is also a no-no. so I feed them once a week, about 3 lbs worth and check on them. You can add additional newspaper bedding if it looks low.

My worms, I’m proud to say are a composting machine. They are translucent so you can actually watch the compost travel through them from top to bottom. Clearly you can I see I have lost all the initial queasineess I might have had around worms and such. And you should too. Composting has been going great and in fact I am really close to harvesting. Next up some troubleshooting and tips. Remember, trash talk but don’t trash!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2011 3:10 am

    Nice work.
    Where was the composting class? Lesec?

    • March 21, 2011 4:41 pm

      Hi – it was at a school downtown but yes, organized by the LESEC! Have you taken it too? I thought they did a great job and I bought the worm bin from them too.

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