Throughout the world, cities and communities are become more aware of the need to reduce their waste output, which inevitably ends up in overflowing landfills, or worse yet, our oceans and water supplies. In more progressive cities, such as San Francisco, there have been new laws instituted requiring residents and businesses to separate not just recyclable materials such as cans and bottles, but also compostable materials, such as organic food waste.
With more widespread acceptance, composting is no longer just an activity for farmers and hippies living on communes. In fact, like the ant farm of 20 years ago, worm composting is becoming a popular activity not just because of its environmental benefits, but because it’s fun and some would even say fascinating. A worm composting bin is essentially a stackable multi-tray system with each level having a perforated bottom that allows worms to migrate from tray to tray. After filling a tray with compostable material such as kitchen scraps, junk mail, and cardboard, the worms convert it into nutrient-rich compost soil for your garden. The compost created from worm “castings” has proven to be a very effective growing soil.
Also, many worm composting systems feature a spigot on the bottom tray which allows for the harvesting of the “worm tea”. Worm tea is a nutrient-rich, liquid byproduct that results from the composting process. This liquid is excellent for feeding your plants.
There are many concerns that immediately come to mind for many potential buyers looking to purchase a worm composting bin for the first time. For some, they are concerned about a rotting food stench coming from the trays. Others are concerned about how long it may take for their paper and food waste to get converted into garden soil. While both the aforementioned worries are valid concerns, neither of these issues are a problem in a well-designed system. A well-designed worm composting system is not only odorless, but can house anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 worms. The use of peat moss or coconut coir helps prevent and unpleasant smells, while the sheer volume of worms can convert a fresh tray of waste into nutrient-rich garden soil in anywhere from 10-14 days.
There has long been a stigma that worms are gross, dirty creatures, and many can’t imagine having a system of stacked trays in their home that houses thousands of them. However, almost anyone who is willing to try worm composting becomes quickly enamored by how quickly these diligent little crawlers can convert everyday food and paper waste into something as useful as fresh garden soil. Additionally, the added benefit of helping preserve our environment, and in some cases staying with municipal laws, will probably make worm composting surge in popularity over the coming months and years. Happy composting