[UPDATE: The video mentioned below is no longer online so I have removed the embed code for it.]
Firstly, I’d just like to send a BIG thanks out to ‘Jeff’ – one of our readers (and a customer) – for telling me about this today. This is exactly the sort of thing that reminds me of why I got into vermicomposting in the first place (like I need a reminder – haha!). I love coming across these super-cool ‘real world’ examples of worm composting being successfully used on a large scale.
This video talks about the Red Worm beds (which actually just look like a series of big Rubbermaid tubs) being used at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Recycling Center, in Dayton Ohio. The worms process fruit and vegetable waste (along with newspaper) from the base, and of course convert it into a pretty amazing all-natural ‘fertilizer’. One very interesting tidbit was the observation that the worms seem to feed most heavily at 70 F (academic research has suggested that the ‘optimal’ temperature is closer to 77 F).
Although this video is quite new, it looks as though the base has been using Red Wigglers to process their wastes for a number of years now. I tracked down an article over at Worm Digest posted in 2005, but which actually looks to be from 2003!
Here is an interesting blurb from that article:
The base launched a vermicomposting program in July, using earthworms to consume a daily average of 500 pounds of solid waste. The worms digest vegetable matter and old newspapers. That saves the base about $25 per day on transporting and disposing of waste.
As the number of worms grows, so does the amount of waste they consume.
The base acquired 250,000 worms and their climate-controlled home at no cost from another base that found it didn’t produce enough food waste to satisfy the little guys’ voracious appetites.
At Wright-Patterson, which produces more than enough fruit and vegetable waste from its commissary, the California red wigglers have flourished, now numbering more than 300,000.
[UPDATE: Unfortunately the Worm Digest website is no longer active so I can’t link to the original article]
Just the fact that they are doing this is great – but it is also quite inspiring to see that they are even saving quite a lot of money in the process!