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Composting at home with a Worm Bin

In our last newsletter, we talked about the 5 R’s- refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. Though a large proportion of landfill waste is organic material, ‘rot’ may seem like the most difficult step to introduce into our daily lives. However, using a worm bin is an easy way to compost leftover organic material, and you don’t even need a garden to do it!


Why?

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

  • In the anaerobic environment of landfill, organic waste leads to methane production. Composting is an aerobic process which produces far less methane.

  • Produce compost and ‘worm tea’ for your plants

  • The worms will work hard to turn your organic waste into powerful fertilizer.

  • Hands-on project for city kids (and city grown-ups)

  • Watching food scraps get turned into soil for plants is fascinating! If you take it a step further and use the soil to grow edible plants/herbs, you can ‘close the loop’ on your very own circular system.

How?

  1. Get a worm bin! It will need at least two levels so that your worms can migrate up towards new food as you compost more scraps. You can then swap these layers around to extract the compost.

  2. Buy one: there are a lot of hip-looking commercial worm bins available.

  3. Make one: You can easily & cheaply make your own out of bins or buckets.

  4. Get worms! Many fishing shops or website will have them, and you can even get them on OLX.

  5. Not all species will work. Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) are good and easy to find.

  6. Take care of your worms

  7. Make sure you know what foods you can compost. Some foods are not good for your worms, can smell or attract mice. If you stick to the right foods, your worm bin should not smell (even in summer). One option is to keep food scraps in a freezer drawer and then defrost + feed to your worms once a week.

  8. Worms need bedding to stay happy- shredded newspaper, cardboard, and used brown paper bags all work well.

  9. Remember to water them regularly.

Here’s a worm bin that’s been happily living on a balcony in Alcântara for 2 years now!


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