Thousands of worms are silently turning food waste into compost right in the comfort of people’s homes.
The transformation takes place in worm compost bins built by volunteers with repurposed materials. And money from the bin sales has just been recycled back into the community.
“Everybody seems to be getting ahead with this,” said organizer Cameron Baughen, solid waste co-ordinator for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
The simple composters consist of four, stacked 20-litre buckets into which holes are drilled to allow worms to move around and get at scraps like vegetable peelings.
“All we ever add in there is the worms, fresh newspaper and food waste. Just those three things,” Baughen said.
“Worm composting isn’t for everyone. It’s something that’s done inside, some people are squeamish about that, but we know that there are a percentage of people who are very interested in doing it.”
About three years ago, the RDOS was looking for a low-cost source of worm composters to help divert food waste from household garbage, so buckets were sourced from Booster Juice and twine obtained from a local landfill, then volunteers from the Penticton Community Garden offered to assemble the bins, which sell for $25 including the worms.
On Saturday, the RDOS handed over a cheque for $1,400, representing the total of all sales, to the builders.
Garden society president Carol Allen said the composters appeal to the same kind of people who have one of the 51 community plots.
“One of the reasons the community gardens exists is because this is a really high medium-density housing area. Lots of condos, lots of apartments, so this is something people can actually do who don’t have a yard,” Allen said.
“It’s really been win-win all the way around.”
The RDOS periodically hosts worm composting workshops to get people started. The next session is scheduled for Aug. 13 and there is no cost to attend. For more information, call 250-490-4129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.