The Compost collective


Created at: 01 Sep 2022


Urban vermiculture / composting

Urban vermiculture / composting Food waste management is a problem that has been fast occurring globally due to the rise in population, industrialisation as well as changes in lifestyle. Most waste is disposed of in an open dump and in some developed countries, landfill. Dumps and landfill require a lot of land mass and usually have consequences for the surrounding community. Food waste is rich in organic matter and contains a vast amount of recyclable plant nutrients. Composting and vermicomposting speed up the decomposing time and lower the scale of waste- the final product is rich in nitrogen and organic carbon.


Composting Composting is a popular method of food waste disposal, due to the high percentage of organic material it reaps. Composting is defined as “the biological degradation process of heterogeneous solid organic materials under controlled moist, self-heating, and aerobic conditions, to obtain a stable material that can be used as organic fertilizer”. Decomposition can reduce the weight of the material by about 50%. By composting we can reduce the amount of waste in landfills, thus extending the lifespan. Composting does not generate odors and does not attract flies or other animals when it is conducted under controlled conditions. Composting can be done at many different scales, from individuals to big corporate companies.

How to Compost

Start the compost pile on soil, This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to help aerate the compost. Putting a few inches deep of straw first helps with drainage and helps with aeration. Add in compost material (adding in manure will help speed up the process). Keep compost moist, water or let rain wet the compost. Cover the pile with anything available to help retain moisture and heat while also not allowing the rain to overwater. Turn every few weeks to aerate the compost.

Vermicomposting Vermicomposting is a newer method of composting. It involves the stabilisation of organic solid waste through micro-organisms and earthworm consumption that converts the food waste into earthworm waste (Direct, 2022). Different species of earthworms have different effects on the rate of time it takes for the waste to stabilise. Earthworms have the capability to colonize in composting and consume and digest organic waste while lowering the waste mass making it perfect for prolonging landfill lifespan. Compared to conventional composting, vermicomposting has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of vermicomposting are its ability to retain moister more efficiently, better nutrient capacity, superior soil structure, and a higher level of bio-diversity. Vermiculture also is odorless, cost-efficient, and free of toxic waste. It also provides better P nutrition from different organic wastes. The vermicomposting end product has a lower pathogen level than that in compost (Direct, 2022).


How to Vermicompost

Add a drainage layer Add in a few inches of moist dirt and small pieces of paper. Add vermiculture/earthworms. Add in your compost material (adding in manure will help speed up the process). Keep compost moist, water, or let rain wet the compost. Cover the pile with anything available to help retain moisture and heat while also not allowing the rain to overwater.

Benefits Composting & vermicomposting food waste is a sustainable waste management option. The implementation of food waste in agriculture can aid the growth of the country's economy by lowering the consumption of inorganic fertiliser and avoiding land degradation issues (Direct, 2022). Vermicomposting is becoming more popular as the process has many benefits. It reduces the volume to make application easier and save on space. Food waste is highly organic in nature; therefore vermicomposting of food waste has become a suitable option for safe, hygienic, and cost-effective disposal(Direct, 2022). The vermicast collected after bioprocessing can supply nutrients to plants, improve the physico-chemical and biological properties of soil and enhance its fertility (Bansal and Kapoor, 2000). Wastes can be either supplemented to the soil directly. Vermicomposting helps with the destruction of pathogens and small greenhouse emissions and is scalable to suit any scenario.



Bansal, S. and Kapoor, K.K. (2000) Vermicomposting of Crop Residues and Cattle Dung with Eisenia foetida. Bioresource Technology, 73, 95-98.

Direct, S., 2022. Management of urban solid waste: Vermicomposting a sustainable option. [online] Science directs. Available at: [Accessed 1 September 2022].

Eartheasy Guides & Articles. 2022. Composting. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 September 2022].

Allotment & Gardens. 2022. Aerating Your Worm Compost - Allotment & Gardens. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 September 2022].

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Tobias Pillanger

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