A Way to Recycle Food Waste: VERMICOMPOSTING

Asad Manzoor
Department of Agriculture & Agribusiness Management, University of Karachi.


Millions of tons of food waste are buried or burned every year at significant and considerable financial and environmental cost. Instead of dumping and wasting of your food scraps, you can recycle them with the help of worms. Vermicomposting (worm composting) turns many types of kitchen waste into a nutritious soil for plants. When worm compost is added to soil, it boosts the nutrients available to plants and enhances soil structure and drainage.

Vermiculture or Vermicomposting is derived from the Latin term vermis, meaning worms. Vermicompsting is essentially the consumption of organic material by earthworms. This speeds up the procedure of decomposition and provides a nutrient-rich end product, called vermicompost, in the form of ‘worm castings’.

Vermicomposting, or composting with earthworms, is an excellent technique for recycling food waste in the apartment as well as composting yard wastes in the backyard. Worm bins located near a hot water heater in the garage during the winter will save many a trip through the snow to the backyard compost bin. Letting worms recycle your food waste also saves your back, because you don’t have to turn over the compost to keep it aerated.http://zaraimedia.com/

The most common types of earthworms used for vermicomposting are brandling worms (Eisenia foetida) and redworms or red wigglers (Lumbricus rubellus). Often found in aged manure piles, they generally have alternating red and buff-colored stripes.

They are not to be confused with the common garden or field earthworm (Allolobophora caliginosa and other species). Although the garden earthworm occasionally feeds on the bottom of a compost pile, they prefer ordinary soil. An acre of land can have as many as 500,000 earthworms, which can recycle as much as 5 tons of soil or more per year. Red worms and brandling worms, however, prefer the compost or manure environment. Passing through the gut of the earthworm, recycled organic wastes are excreted as castings, or worm manure, an organic material rich in nutrients that looks like fine-textured soil.

Vermicomposting food waste offers several advantages:

1. It reduces household garbage disposal costs;
2. It produces fewer odors and attracts fewer pests than putting food wastes into a garbage container.
3. It saves the water and electricity that kitchen sink garbage disposal units consume;
4. It produces a free, high-quality soil amendment (compost);
5. It requires little space, labor, or maintenance;
6. It spawns free worms for fishing.
Courtesy Agriculture Information Bank


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