December 2015

Pencil Shavings in Worm Bins?

This is an interesting question:

I have prepared my first worm bins in anticipation of receiving my first ever order of worms later this week. I am also now on the lookout for any and all items the worms might like. One item I haven’t found mentioned on your site: household amounts of pencil shavings?

Thank you for your excellent website.


Hi Justina,
Generally speaking, woody materials are not the best food/bedding for worm bins since they can take quite some time to fully break down (but they can simply be screened and added to new systems as a “living material” over and over again). That being said, shavings like that are certainly better than chunks of wood or even wood chips.

Although we still use the term “lead”, the actual metal lead probably hasn’t been used to write for hundreds of years (but I’m not a writing historian so don’t quote me on that! lol). The graphite that IS used is totally harmless (and whadya know – it’s a carbon source too!). I would imagine that the core of coloring pencils would be equally benign.

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