The Wormcycler Composter


Nature's Footprint is dedicated to promoting composting as a means to help eliminate waste and reduce our impact on the planet. In an effort to encourage municiaplities to join us in our effort, we have made our Wormcycler easily available to both non-profit organizations and municipal governments. Check out some of our Frequently Asked Questions



Wormcycler

Benefits of the Wormcycler


On top of boasting the same benefits as our standard model, such as the efficient upward-migrating system with easily manageable trays, the Wormcycler also offers some additional benefits to non-profits and municipal governments.


  • On-Site Composting: Many governments hire trucks to travel and pick up their citizen's food and paper waste. Large-scale use of the Wormcycler, a composter that citizens can use in their own homes, eliminates the cost of maintaining a large collection operation.


  • Expandable: The Wormcycler ships with three trays. If consumers feel they need to increase their composting ability they can purchase additional individual trays from their municipality to meet their needs.




Specifications:

  • Measures 16" x 16" x 20"
  • Made from high-quality post-consumer recycled plastic
  • Weighs 15lb
  • Operational in temperatures between 45 and 75 degrees

Includes:

  • 3 Stacking Trays
  • Collection Tray
  • Base
  • Instruction Booklet
  • Ventilation "Quick Tips" Lid
  • Spigot/Drain
  • Various assembly screws, nuts and bolts
  • 250g Brick of Coir

How the Wormcycler Works

Simply add a handful of worms and your organic waste to the bottom tray. The worms will start processing the food. Once the bottom tray is filled add another tray. The worms migrate upward to the newest food source leaving the bottom tray full of nutrient rich compost.


As waste is broken down, moisture filters through the system taking nutrient-rich particles with it. You can drain organic liquid fertilizer right from the spigot.



Worm Composting FAQ


Contents


How do worms eat?
Is it expensive to raise worms?
How many worms should you start a compost bin with?
Are worms used in a worm bin the same as earthworms?
How do worms make more worms?
What do baby worms look like?
What do they eat?
Why is worm compost so good for plants?
How are worms shipped?
Common myths
How do I keep my worms happy?


How much time does it take to manage a Worm Box?
How often do you have to feed your worms?
How do I add more trays?
What if my worms aren't migrating up?
How much food can my worms process?
Do the worms reproduce inside the unit?
How long does each tray take to finish?
What do I feed my worms?
Does the Wormcycler smell?
I think my bin is too wet, what should I do?
What does the Wormcycler do for me?

Still Have Questions?
Let Us Know!

How do worms eat?


Worms have no teeth so they eat food by coating it with their saliva making it soft and easy to digest. After the food is swallowed, it passes through their esophagus, crop, and then to the gizzard where small amounts of sediment (sand and soil taken in with the food) grind it up. The food then travels through the intestine, which is almost as long as the worm itself, and is broken down further into digested castings which can be harvested for compost.


Is it expensive to raise worms?


Raising worms is very inexpensive. Feeding them is relatively free and they provide an organic fertilizer for your house plants and small garden.


How many worms should you start a compost bin with?


It's recommended that you start your worm bin with a pound, which is roughly 800-1000 individual worms.


Are worms used in a worm bin the same as earthworms?


When people think of earthworms they usually mean nightcrawlers which can be 8-10" long and 1/2" in diameter. These types of worms differ from red wigglers, although both may be referred to as earthworms since they are both found in the earth.

Nightcrawlers are soil dwellers so they like to burrow several feet below the surface. In contrast, red wigglers are surface dwellers and prefer to live within the top 6" of the soil.


How do worms make more worms?


Red wigglers, like other earthworms, are hermaphroditic and have both sets of reproductive organs. However, two worms are still required for reproduction to take place. Worms reproduce by lining up side by side and joining the clitellums, which contain the reproductive organs, and exchange sperm. The worms then go their separate ways and secrete cocoons which contain several eggs.


It will take about three weeks for a cocoon to mature and it will hatch into several baby worms. The worms will reach mature breeding age in 60-90 days and under perfect conditions can produce a cocoon every 7-10 days.


What do baby worms look like?


The baby red wigglers look just like smaller versions of full grown worms, but are lighter in color.


What do they eat?


Composting worms do not eat the garbage directly. Food must first be broken down by various bacteria until it is small enough to be consumed. Once in the worms digestive system the particles get crushed and broken down more before enzymes in the in the worms intestines do the actual digesting and turn the waste into nutrient rich castings.


Worms will thrive on just about any organic matter, but for a composting bin a few items should be avoided: meat and dairy should never be added, and citrus and onion should be avoided.


Worms can eat up to half their weight in food per day. The Wormcycler was designed for a family of 1-4 people. With additional trays, the capacity of the unit can be increased to handle the waste of more people.


Why is worm compost so good for plants?


Worm compost makes nutrients readily available to plants. When compost is mixed with water, it has the ability to hold many positively-charged mineral ions, which can then be taken up by the plants. Also, as worms proccess (digest) the food scraps, the nutrients in the food are changed into forms which can then be used by plants. Worm compost is rich in natural humus, nitrogen, potash, phospohorous, and calcium, all essential for healthy plant growth.


How can I ship worms?


Worms can be shipped in a box with some bedding material. As long as they're kept out of extreme temperatures the worms will be fine in transit for a few days. It's important to have your worms new home set up and ready when they arrive in the mail to minimize the shock of being in the box. It may take the worms about a week to fully adjust to their new environment after transport.


Common myths


Many people believe that a worm cut in half will grow into two worms. This is not true; one worm will always be one worm, although worms do have amazing regenerative abilities and can grow back large portions of their bodies if they get cut off.


How do I keep my worms happy?


Worms are generally low maintenance creatures, but there are a handful of things to watch out for.

Moisture is an important factor in a worm bin. Since worms breath through their skin the bin cannot be too wet or the worms may drown, and if it's too dry they won't be able to breath. The material in a worm bin should be moist to the touch, but not dripping wet. If the bin seems too moist, mix in some shredded newspaper to absorb some of that excess moisture, and if it's too dry, add some newspaper that has been soaked in water and wrung out.


Worms are cold blooded creatures, and cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. Worms must never be allowed to freeze, or sit in direct sunlight on warm days. Worms need to be between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to survive, and will be most happy and active at about room temperature.


How much time does it take to manage a Wormcycler?


The Wormcycler requires very little maintenance. Worms will be happy as long they are fed, have enough moisture, and are at a temperature between 40 and 80 degrees. We recommend checking up on your worms once a week. Gently dig into your worm bedding and see how your worms are doing. Your worms should have a moist body and be actively moving around your food scraps. Checking once a week will help address with any problems that may arise (moisture level, fruit flies, worm health).


How often do you have to feed your worms?


Don't worry about feeding your worms every day; it will take awhile for them to break down the food in the bin. Some people feed them a handful a week; some people feed them a handful a day. If there is too much food, you can simply add another tray. Worms can survive up to two weeks without any additional food.


How do I add more trays?


When your first tray is filled to the top, it is time to add a second tray. All you have to do to set up the second tray is add shredded paper and/or leaves to use as bedding for the worms. Then, add a handful of food to a corner of the tray to entice the worms to migrate to the next level. It may take a full week for the full population to make it to the next level. The worms will move in between both trays to finish working on the food scraps in the first level.


What if my worms aren't migrating up?


Sometimes the worms are not too excited about leaving their home tray and traveling upwards. First, give them some time to migrate up. If you have just set up your second tray, give them at least two weeks to migrate and acclimate to their new "home tray".


If after two weeks your worms haven't made the move, you need to take a look at the second tray. There could be a food product that you have added that they don't like. Dairy products, meats or citrus products are products you should avoid. The bedding could also be too wet or too dry. If the bedding is too dry, add some water or green food scraps (fruit, vegetables etc). If the bedding is too wet, add some shredded paper or other carbon-based food scraps (corn cobs, coffee grounds etc.) to soak up excess moisture. A careful balance of food, moisture and temperature is important to keep your worms happy and healthy.


How much food can my worms process?


The general rule of thumb is: worms can eat half their weight in food per day! This means that if you start with one pound of worms, they can eat a half pound of food per day. As your worm population grows, they will be able to process more food at a faster rate.


Do the worms reproduce inside the unit?


Yes, worms will reproduce inside the unit according to their space limitations. The worms will regulate their population so you don't have to worry about overpopulation in your bin. Your worm population will double every three months. Their reproduction is also an indicator of the environment they are living in. If the worms aren't happy with their environment, they will not reproduce. If they are happy, moist, and have access to food, they will reproduce, allowing them to process your food and paper scraps faster.


How long does each tray take to finish?


Your first tray will take 1-3 months to finish processing. It could be faster or slower depending on how many worms you start with and how often you feed them. After the first tray is processed, the process will become faster.


What do I feed my worms?


We recommend feeding your worms a diet of 50% food scraps and 50% fiber and paper scraps. This will give your finished compost balanced nutrient levels. But worms will eat virtually anything, so don't worry too much about what you feed them. If you have more food scraps than fiber, they will be fine. You do not have to follow an exact recipe. Give them what you have on hand but, do not give them meat or dairy, these items may kill you worms. The goal is to recycle what you would usually throw away. You don't have to buy food for your worms.


Does the Wormcycler smell?


No, if maintained properly, your worm bin will not smell. The keys to maintaining an odorless composter is moisture control and ventilation. Anaerobic bacteria is the main cause of odor. If you don't allow proper ventilation these bacteria will grow inside your unit, bringing odor with them.


I think my bin is too wet, what should I do?


Moisture control is a big part of managing your worm bin. We recommend taking a handful of bedding and compost in your hand and squeezing it tightly in your fist. In doing this, if you find that more than a couple drops of water comes out, you have too much moisture. Ideally, your bedding should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge. But don't worry, there is an easy fix. If you find your unit is too moist, stir in some dry shredded paper or cardboard. This will soak up some of that moisture and return it to ideal conditions.


What does the Wormcycler do for me?


The Wormcycler allows you to recycle your food and paper scraps, saving them from the landfill. Landfills produce gases during the decomposition process that is harmful to our environment and the ozone layer. By doing your part to recycle, you will be saving our environment and saving money at the same time.


Recycling will reduce the amount of garbage you throw away which reduces your garbage bill. Since you are turning trash into nutrient rich compost for your garden, you save on the cost of fertilizers and soil amendments. Adding compost to your soil also increases its water holding capacity, saving water as well. The Wormcycler is an investment that will pay for itself many times over.



Still Have Questions? Let Us Know!