Monday, April 11

Guest Post: Worms: "Procreate, eat, shit and have a great time"

We are a composting household and have been so since 2006. While living in Montreal I thought I was doing pretty good just recycling. I mean, I lived in an apartment, how could I compost?

Then we moved to British Columbia and our landlord had a compost bin in his yard. I figured, well, my parents have been composting for a few years now, I'm sure I can handle this. The first few months were definitely an adventure. Filled with failed "corn based" biodegradable bags... that would actually begin composting IN our bin (ew!), to fruit fly infestations, a frozen outdoor compost bin and then maggots. Yep, Gag. (Lesson: boxboard or sturdy paper is WAY better than weird corn-plastic bags).

It has now been about five years of composting. We have a little green bin that we buy paper bags to line. Our friends use old cereal or beer boxes to line theirs. Since we're lazy we empty ours when it gets full... which is about every three of four days. Wouldn't you know, it doesn't (generally) smell. Fruit flies are minimal. This is mostly because we have a sealed container.

Now when I travel and visit other places that don't compost it feels almost criminal putting food waste to be shipped to a place where I know it will never degrade.

TRUTH: food waste *might* degrade in the landfill... (lettuce and hotdogs have been found from decades previous perfectly preserved in air tight plastic bags. No oxygen? Slow to none decomposition). When they do degrade without oxygen they create extremely polluting methane- one of the top climate changing chemicals that traps heat 20% more than carbon. Our landfills are the biggest human source of this gas. Awesome.

Although some landfills and dumps have figured out ways to trap the gases- compost facilities can as well... WHILE creating beautifully rich soil at the same time.

Also, food waste makes up 35 to 50% of our garbage. In Toronto that means 110,000 tonnes of green bin waste and 90,000 tonnes of yard waste per year
(Ecoholic, 2007).

Composting in Nova Scotia is sooo easy. You put stuff in the green bin and once a week a big city truck comes and takes it away. Sadly, despite the laws that are supposedly enforcing these regulations, most local yoga studios do *not* in fact compost. You're lucky if you even see a recycling separating option.

Have municipal compost but are grossed out by it all? A few smarty-pants Nova Scotian designers actually designed a silicone freezer bin that you fill up, freeze and will easily pop the frozen waste out into the municipal pick up bin. No mess, no smell. Made by Fuccillo in Los Angeles and sold here in Halifax at Carbonstok.

Ok, so you're convinced and WANT to compost. You get it. Sadly, no municipal composting system and you live in the city. Hah- you are SO not off the hook!

Hello Vers de terre- aka Worms!

Vermicomposting is the decomposition of organic matter by worms. They eat the stuff and poo out nutrient rich worm poo. I have read that they are easy and smell-free way to create rich organic soil for your plants (or local park... lol) right in your apartment! Living in Toronto has a fabulous guide on how to create your very own worm composter in your apartment.

Red worms eat their weight in food every day. This means one pound of worms can eat through seven pounds of food every week. According to this interview:
“Worms are like children,” says Fry. Keep them indoors where it’s not too hot, not too cold. You can start small with an ice cream bucket, but any plastic or wood container will do. First you need a scoop of soil. A layer of shredded newspaper on top acts as their bedding. Lift it up for feeding time and cover them up afterwards. Keep it moist and feed every few days.
“After that they just procreate, eat, shit and have a great time”
Love that quote.

Don't like the look of a plastic bin in your living room? Well, you could get this ridiculously beautiful 5bin composter system on etsy. Or these coffin-like Wood Worm bins, or eco-felt cloth bins that you could store under the sink.

Take the next step.
  • If you have a yard; get yourself a yard composter (Yancy has fabulous adventures and insights on her blog).
  • If you live in the city with municipal composting- get a bin and some liners and giver!
  • If you don't like the smell- try the beautiful silicone freezer bin!
  • If you don't have municipal composting- go worming!

Needless to say, composting definitely is for everyone. It really is shameful that 50% of our waste is taken up by something that could otherwise be creating beautiful, healthy soil.


I would like to thank Eco Yogini for this wonderfully informative guest post. It made me stop and consider worm composting. I just need to convince the hubby ;-)

article copyright of EcoYogini at

No comments: