One of the little known facts about WCC is that it has an organic waste management program that uses a worm bed (vermicomposting) to convert
organic waste to a usable product (worm castings). This program has been a huge success during the past 18 months and has provided valuable worm castings to WTMC’s Core Garden. In calendar year 2018, WCC composted 7.5 tons of organic waste from food preparation areas.
Working with Starr Valley Farms and as a direct result of the success of the program WCC’s Recycle Department has now expanded the capacity of it’s Vermicomposting system. Participation in this program is high, with daily collection of organic material happening across campus. WCC’s Culinary Arts program, Subway, Java Spot, and WCC employees support the program by separating food waste from their general trash. In the past 12 months several new departments have requested an organics collection service for their area.
The new worm bed uses the same Red Wriggler (Eisenia Fetida) worms used in the first bin. The expansion of the system will allow the beds to be filled alternately, increasing the frequency of harvest and use of the materials in the Core Garden.
Red Wrigglers worms reproduce quickly and can eat more than their own weight in food each day. They are able to survive well in a variety of climates. They really can eat just about anything organic, but like us, certain foods just don’t agree with them and therefore are best avoided. At WCC they are fed
- Coffee Grounds
- Tea Bags
- Egg Shells
If you would like an organics collection bin for your kitchen or breakroom, or just want to learn more, please contact the Recycle Dept via extension #5312 or put a Famis Service Request for an Organics Caddy.
Once the worms have done their work and all the food residue is converted to castings the material can be removed from the bed and put through a trommel. The trommel separates the material into three grades, fine, medium, and coarse. It also separates the worms from the castings so they can be returned to the pit and restart the process. The castings harvested are used in the WTMC CORE Garden to enrich and enhance their growing medium.
This sustainability effort comprised of combining both projects (Vermi-composting and CORE Garden) with campus wide organics waste collection is the culmination of cross departmental collaboration between organic waste producers (both educational and commercial), Facilities Management’s Recycle Operation Department, and the educational outcome and food production in the WTMC CORE Garden. It is truly a closed loop sustainable waste management initiative as well as an interdivisional project.
The Recycle Operations Department would like to thank everyone who continues to contribute to the success of this project whether by separating their organic waste from their trash, being directly involved, or being an end user.