Back at the end of September (2017) I started up a new experimental bin. The focus – “tea bag vermicomposting“. The idea was to see how things worked out over the long haul with a worm composting system receiving only used tea bags as “food”.
A couple of weeks after the initial set-up, I fed the system again (see: “Tea Bag Vermicomposting – 10-13-17“)…before completely and utterly neglecting it for the better part of the next 3 months.
All hope was not lost, though. During that time I DID still continue to dilligently collect all our tea bags in a big zip lock bag, sitting under the sink (starting up a second one fairly recently once the first batch started smelling a bit funky). And, as you’ll see in the first video (above), I finally added all those bags to the bin yesterday.
Not too surprisingly, the worms had worked through most of the initial bedding and tea bags that were added early on. Interestingly, in spite of the 3 months of neglect, they looked a lot bigger and healthier than when I first added them (remember, they came from a “ridiculously badly neglected bin“).
One little change I’ve decided to make to the “rules” is to allow the inclusion of the little paper packets most of our tea bags come in (this won’t apply to the ones that come in glossy paper packets, or – obviously – the ones that don’t come in packets). Although used tea bags are nothing like typical fruit/veggie scraps as far as water content goes, I’ve noticed that a fair amount of liquid accumulates down in the bottom of the zip lock bag they are sitting in. So I think having a little more absorbent “bedding”-ish material will be beneficial.
And why split hairs, right? The packets are still technically a tea bag waste! (And would have otherwise ended up in my main compostable kitchen waste stream)
I was curious to see how the worms would respond to the new food source, so this morning (approximately 24 hours after the bags were added) I decided to check up on the bin (see video below). As expected, it seems as though many of the worms have already moved into the tea bag zone.
Moving forward, the gameplan will involve adding tea bags to the bin more often (maybe every 2-3 weeks) – and keeping everyone posted on how things are coming along more regularly as well.