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DIY compost bin

Marc Lefkowitz  |  04/28/09 @ 2:24pm

Last week, the Smead Discovery Center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History hosted a program demonstrating a simple way to build a compost bin with worms. Nearly 500 moms, dads and kids came and, of those, 130 made 'vermicomposting' bins from used 2-liter soda bottles to take home.

"Adults were excited about the environmental benefits of composting and kids were thrilled with the worms," says Center coordinator, Beth Gatchell. "It was interesting that ninety-five percent of the visitors knew about (composting with worms). Six years ago that was not the case."

Gatchell has maintained a vermicomposting bin at the Center for three years and has diverted two hundred and fifty pounds of staff lunchroom and animal food waste from a landfill.

"We also dispelled confusion about worms being 'good' or 'bad'," Gatchell adds. "You can see three demonstration terraria that show why non-native worms aren't so good in native forests. It's the same reason they are good in the vermicompost."

Gatchell chooses to compost with worms for these reasons:

1. It doesn't smell bad when done correctly. 2. It saves money otherwise spent on waste removal. 3. It saves money you would spend on fertilizer and soil amendment ? the worms are making a lot of it for free. 4. It reduces your trash volume 5. It prevents food waste from going to a landfill where it will stay for tens or hundreds of years due to very, very slow decomposition in landfills.

How to build a vermicompost bin from a 2-liter bottle instruction sheet (pdf).

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