Reducing Food Waste by Vermicomposting (Worm Bin)
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
The methane emissions from food waste breaking down in landfills is one of the top priorities for reducing greenhouse gasses, according to the research from Project Drawdown. When we lived in a mild climate, we had a backyard compost pile, and in the city we had municipal green waste pickup. Here in a rural area in a cold climate, though, with lots of wild animals roaming our land, a compost pile for kitchen scraps is less practical, and we don't have a curbside service. (Heck, we don't even have a curb.)
For vegetable scraps, our solution is vermi-composting. We bought a quality fabric bin online, and worms from a local supplier. We provide the worms with shredded cardboard and paper bedding, and vegetable scraps, which we cut into chunks, and freeze until the worms are hungry (to prevent any mold from growing on them). After experimenting for a few months, we've figured out how much bedding the worms require and how much food they can consume and turn into the worm castings that are such good fertilizer for our garden beds. We keep our bin in the garage, because our house is super-airtight and any slight smells do become problematic. Since the garage is cool, we've installed an electric heater that keeps the worms warm enough to be active in the winter.
Meat scraps don't go in the worm bin, but we do make sure that we generate as little waste as possible. We turn beef and chicken bones into rich homemade bone broth, which becomes the base for hearty stews. We give fish skins and any extra organ meat scraps to the cat, who appreciates them very much!