Restaurant Vermicomposting Question

Here is an interesting question from Frank:

I read your article on Restaurant Vermicomposting and was
disappointed to read the sequel Restaurant Vermicomposting Post
. Would there not be a possibility to design a bin that can stay on site at the restaurant so you just have to go and collect the compost/worms every now and then? Or is that a dream?

Hi Frank,
That is a good question, and definitely highlights the importance of one of my recommendations in the post mortem. In order to really guarantee the long-term success of a project like this you need to find a way to get the restaurant as excited and involved as possible.

One thing I didn’t mention in my articles is the fact that I approached the restaurant owner about putting one or two backyard composters on the property – more as a symbol of their involvement than anything else (they would only be able to handle a fraction of what the restaurant is producing, and would need to be managed extremely well). Unfortunately he couldn’t even allow this since he isn’t the sole owner of the property itself, and the co-owners more than likely wouldn’t have gone for the idea.

Needless to say, trying to sell him on the idea of dropping many thousands of dollars for a climate controlled, automated vermicomposter that would take up space on site would have been a complete waste of time.

If the restaurant doesn’t get more involved than simply collecting and putting the wastes out for pick-up, there is definitely a greater risk of having the project completely derailed when any significant issue arises. In the minds of the restaurant staff, ownership of the project lies in someone else’s hands. If you can inspire them to take ownership of the project themselves there is greater potential for success.

Thanks for bringing this up, Frank!

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    • vermiman
    • September 10, 2008

    Couldn’t BSFL be used for such a large source of waste? Maybe BioPod?

    • Jacques Bands
    • September 11, 2008

    There is a good idea for a continuous flow through composter on, but the problem is this system can only handle about 25 kg in a week. And it cost some money …

    Maybe using a composting system like this in conjunction with a worm bin system? The lord nelson hotel in Cape Town is using vermicomposting read about it at

  1. Hello Jacques, our Rolypig Composter when used in conjunction with a wormery (maybe one of our Rolymole Wormeries) will process at least 50 litres/kg per week. This is a really logical system to use the Rolypig as a way of partly rotting the waste…ready for the worms to get going on, without as much risk of the material heating up.
    Have a great day, Roy.

    • Susan Bolman
    • September 11, 2008

    In Honolulu, we have (at minimum) one restaurant, one K – 12 school cafeteria vermicomposting their waste. Here’s a quote from the info on the restaurant. “With space a premium, a 16″ wide by 16″ deep by 16′ long wooden bin was designed to fit a narrow walkway between two buildings. Eight-foot modules will be added as the worm colony grows out.”

    • Bentley
    • September 12, 2008

    Vermiman – I think one would encounter the same issues with a BSFL system since it would require a decent amount of capital (something this restaurant was willing to shell out) and likely a fair bit of space if it was a system capable of processing as much as 500 or 600 lbs of food waste per week.

    There are certainly systems out there that could do the job, but I think the main issue, apart from large expenditure, would be where to put it. Even if the owner WOULD have allowed a system to sit outside on the property, we would have then needed to ensure that it continued working during our cold winters.

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