Large-Scale Vermicomposting in Hong Kong

I just caught this really interesting video on Al’s Bokashi Blog. 80 million worms processing tons of waste ever day! Totally awesome!! We definitely need more operations like this here in North America!

[UPDATE: June, 2008 – Unfortunately, it looks as though this video has been taken down from the Reuters site]

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Comments

    • Kami
    • October 13, 2007

    I am curious. Can you think of a down-side to large-scale vermicomposting? Everything has pros and cons, but I cannot identify the negatives to vermicomposting.

    Have you seen the propsed vertical farming? I think vermicomposting would be a good fit with this type of farming. Of course the problems inherent with verticle farming may mean that it will never get off the ground. –pardon the pun.

    • Bentley
    • October 13, 2007

    Great question, Kami!
    Large-scale vermicomposting requires a lot more space than ‘hot composting’ typically, and you are dealing with larger organisms (the worms), which will potentially need more care and attention. If the system is not fully climate-controlled, the worm bed can sometimes heat up (from excess microbial activity), potentially harming the worms.

    For the most part however, I think large-scale vermicomposting is a fantastic idea.

    As for vertical farming – that sounds familiar, but I need to refresh my memory. I personally think vermicomposting fits in well with any sustainable model of agriculture and living in general. (but I’m also a little biased – haha)

    B.

    • Al
    • October 23, 2007

    Bentley,

    Thanks for the mention and the link.

    Kami,

    “Can you think of a down-side to large-scale vermicomposting? Everything has pros and cons, but I cannot identify the negatives to vermicomposting.”

    Only one downside, according to one researcher…

    http://tinyurl.com/388f96

    “Worms produce a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Recent research done by German scientists has found that worms produced a third of nitrous oxide gases when used for composting.”

    …but it appears to be a big one.:-)

    Still, its better than the alternative.

    Al

    • Bentley
    • October 23, 2007

    Hey Al!
    I totally forgot about that (have actually been meaning to write a blog post on the topic). Thanks for the reminder.

    I would be interested to see HOW “significant” the amount of N2O released is (in comparison to major sources of the gas), and would also be very interested to see if other researchers come up with similar findings/conclusions.

    B.

    • Susan
    • June 20, 2008

    Bentley – I loved this video and have sent a number of people to your site to see it. Now, however, when I click on your link I get polar bears. I’ve tried to use google to find the video without success. Can you check your link and see if there’s still a way to get to that particular video? Thanks. Susan.

    • Bentley
    • June 20, 2008

    Hi Susan – thanks for letting me know. That is very odd. They still seem to have it on the Reuters site:
    http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=66121&newsChannel=lifestyleMolt
    but it won’t load there, so they must have removed it for some reason.

    That’s really too bad!

    B

    • Letitia Wong
    • June 24, 2008

    It’s a video of polar bears at a zoo…..

    • eco
    • January 6, 2010

    Al,
    Unfortunately all types of composting, particularly thermophilic (hot composting/actively aerated) produce large amounts of N2O and CO2.
    There is no getting away from it. Even in nature the decomposition of organic material produces N2O, CO2 and CH4.
    Still, as you say it’s better than the alternative; Landfill!
    In nature waste does not exist, the by-product of one organism is the sustenance of another. So must it be in our human civilisation.

    eco

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