(back to main)
Systems of Vermicomposting
Home, classroom, community, and commercial

Home Vermicomposting

    Worm bins in the home can take on a multitude of different sizes, shapes, and designs.  The idea is to match the worm bin with the household.  For large households that prepare many meals, a larger worm bin is called for; a household where there is single occupancy, may require a substantially smaller bin.  A good idea is to measure the amount of organic material that the home throws out as garbage per week, for at lease one month.  If this is a typical month the average should be a good estimate of the weekly average.  The bin should be designed to have one square foot of surface for each pound of garbage per week (one tenth square meter surface for each half kg) (Appelhof 1997).

Once this estimate of surface area is determined, the bin may be designed (see section on bins).

Community Vermicomposting
  Community-based vermiculture is run on a bigger scale than that of the individual family–based vermiculture bin.  Most subsistence-based communities try to utilize every piece of scrap food to feed their animals or recycle back in to their gardens.  For those communities that are not as sustainable or already use the traditional composting method can make use of vermicomposting as a tool towards lessening the amount of garbage that goes in to landfills, decreasing harmful rodent populations, enriching soils in a quicker time period, and bringing about employment and profit. 


Initially, organizing community vermiculture can be difficult to bring about but, once everyone knows her or his place, it can be quite easy to sustain.  Since these systems are set up to bring about benefit with the use of vermicompost in raising their land productivity or by the sale of vermicompost, vermiculture tea, beds, and worms, people will be eager to take part.  There are many international communities that have set up their own systems of windrows and beds.  For more information on setting up a community vermiculture system, the Where in the World section has links to different projects that are ongoing internationally.    

     Related Web sites


Commercial Vermiculture

    Commercially, vermiculture has many different economic angles.  A single person, a small village, or a large corporation may use the benefits of vermiculture to make a profit.

    There are businesses that specialize in producing the worms themselves.  They sell the special breeds of worms for vermiculture to people or organizations that are just beginning vermiculture practices.  These businesses are growing in the market as vermiculture gains popularity in the world.  Many of these businesses are small operations run by a family or close group of individuals.

    In some areas there are large vermicomposting sites that are paid to take community garbage (only organic).  For example, some of these sites have become popular on the west coast of U.S.A.  These businesses have shown great promise to be a large alternative of the municipal waste stream headed toward landfills or incinerators.  Problems have arisen in association with the labor costs needed to sort the garbage, and contamination when the sorting process is not as exact as needed.

    In all of these businesses, the product of vermicompost from either the growing of worms or as waste disposal is a valuable commodity.  It can be sold on the market as an organic fertilizer.  The value placed on vermicompost as a soil additive is growing as people learn the benefits of it.  (see section on soil benefits)

For those interested in starting their own business in raising red worms, a great book to start is Peter Bogdanov's "Commercial Vermiculture: How to Build a Thriving Business in Redworms".

    Related Web sites






Harris, G.D.; Platt, W.L.; Price, B.C. (Jan 1990) Vermicomposting in a rural community. BioCycle. {Emmaus, Pa. : J.G. Press.}31, no. 1, p. 48-51.