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Effectiveness of Small-Scale Vermicomposting: a Three Year Study


Every day, much household garbage is burned by incinerators or accumulates in landfills throughout the United States. This poses a great threat to the health of the environment. An average of about 2 kilograms of trash is produced by a single person per day. Three-fourths of what society throws away ends up in landfills where the conditions are so damp and dark that not much decomposition actually occurs. According to 1993 statistics, 30% of all wastes filling our landfills are paper products, 22% is yard/garden material, 11% food waste, 8% plastic, 7% glass, 5% metals, and 17% miscellaneous. Great efforts have been made in trying to invent more efficient and less harmful ways of reducing this waste. Recycling and composting are the two new leading methods. These projects are centered around one of the lesser-known waste disposal methods: vermicomposting. The purpose of these projects is to learn more about vermicomposting by conducting tests which will help people with household vermicomposting bins as well as those with large-scale units. The results of these experiments may considerably help the environment by reducing the amount of waste set in almost useless landfills.
The overall title for our three years of experimentation on the subject of vermicomposting is "Effectiveness of Small-Scale Vermicomposting: a Three Year Study." Each year we have focused on different aspects of composting with worms.

1995-96 Effectiveness of Vermicomposting on Various Household Materials
Tests were conducted on ten different papers and fabrics in hopes that the worms would be able to help compost these, the most common of wastes found in landfills.
1996-97 Effectiveness of Bio-Activators and Chemicals on the Process of Vermicomposting
Tests were conducted to see if the rate of vermicomposting could be accelerated by using different bio-activators and chemicals.
1997-98 Limited Reproduction of Eisenia foetida
Tests were conducted to see if, with limited space and food supplies, the worms would be able to exercise population control.

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