Reducing your household waste
When creating a living space for ourselves and our families, it is also important to not overlook the impact our lifestyles have on the environment. With more focus than ever on conserving water and reducing electricity use, it is essential that we also commit to reducing household waste rather than contributing to landfill.
In the average home, approximately 60% of the household waste is organic and therefore able to be consumed by worms. The particular worms (Eisenia andrei) used in worm farming are different to the native earthworms commonly found in our Perth gardens, in that they are able to be contained in a worm farm and are better workers – they tend to consume their own body weight in food every 2 to 3 days.
Organic matter includes anything that has lived and died, and worms are able to consume the majority of these items. For example; food scraps, paper and cardboard, teabags and coffee grounds, vacuum cleaner dust, human and pet hair, and manure. They will not, however, eat anything that can regenerate, such as seeds or roots.
There are various styles of worm farms to use in the household, including Worm Café sets made from recycled plastic, or you can even repurpose an old refrigerator or bathtub! You will just need to ensure you have a shaded area to keep your worms cool, particularly throughout summer.
Apart from being able to greatly decrease your impact on the environment by reducing waste sent to landfill, another major benefit of having a household worm farm are the castings and liquid leachate produced by the worms. By collecting these (free!) microbe-rich products from your worm farm and putting them to use on your gardens and veggie patches, you can replace fertilisers, further reducing the chemicals in your home, on your food, and in our waterways.
Various councils in Western Australia have come on board with this environmental initiative, and many are now providing free or low cost Worm Workshops, along with worm farm subsidies for their residents and ratepayers.
With the help of the worms, we are easily able to make a difference to our environment, for the future generations, right from our own homes!