Compost and Waste Management

Numbers will show you how much the world has gone to the dumps. An average American would have about .75 tons of trash every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Most of the world’s waste came from industrialized countries.  These countries have waste management laws, especially for hazardous wastes, but still experience problems with dumpsites and waste disposal.

Solving waste management problems do not have to take you anywhere else, you could start solving trash problems at home.  Small contributions like this could go a long way.  About 25 percent of our wastes are yard trimmings or food scraps.  Although, a lot of people are learning to recycle and reuse plastic, metal, glass and other similar items, biodegradable stuff are nearly not recycled at all.

A great way to recycle food scrap is having a compost bin or by vermicomposting.   Vermicomposting is another way of composting.  Worms are used in the process to produce vermicompost, a rich soil which is a great way to fertilize a garden.  There are different kinds of worms used in vermicomposting, like the red worms, white worms, and earthworms.   These worms would produce vermicast which are worm castings or worm humus.  Worms used in vermicomposting can be available from vermicompost enthusiasts or from a supplier.

Worms can be eating a lot of your food scraps and wastes, like vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds, tea, and even eggshells.  However, avoid feeding them with bones, dairy products, spicy food, oily food, and animal manure.  Beddings for vermicompost bins can also be made from household materials like newspaper and cardboard.

Different type of containers could work, if they would protect the worms from too warm or cold weather conditions.  Worms are comfortable in temperatures ranging from 55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Most used bins are those made of wood or plastic.  A 12-inch deep compost bin can accommodate about a pound or 1,000 worms.   Odour does not have to be a problem.  A vermicompost bin which is done properly will not give out any smell.

There are many benefits associated with vermicompost.  The vermicast is 10 to 20 higher in nutrients compared with other organic material used to enrich soil.  It can also improve the soil’s water holding capacity.  Enriching the soil could enhance plant growth and the crops yielded.  If you have a vegetable patch, this would be a great way to reduce food waste and increase productivity from your patch using chemical-free fertilizers.

In the United States, there are states like Illinois, who are banning landscape waste in landfills.  Vermicomposting is a great way to address disposal of these kinds of waste. Aside from that, there are some who would use vermicomposting as another source of income.  They would sell vermicast, it is often called “Black Gold” because of its high nutrient content.  Others would supply worms to fishermen or become a local supplier.

Using vermicomposting as a waste management method for food scraps and other biodegradable materials at home is surely a win-win solution.  You get to reduce waste and benefit from it, whether it is short term or in the long run.