Feasibility Study: Vermicomposting at Boise State University

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Dr. Scott Lowe and Dr. John Gardner


The premise of our research is to analyze the feasibility of a closed-loop waste process on Boise State University campus, in which the food-waste that Boise State University dining services produce can be used as fertilizer on Boise State grounds. Our group project is focused on vermicomposting. Vermicomposting, or vermiculture, is a practice using worms to consume slow decomposing materials to produce a nutrient rich soil amendment. We want to test the feasibility of using the red wiggler worm (Eisenia foetida) to digest and decompose the food waste pulp that is produced by the Boise River Café. This study’s findings will show the ability of the worms to digest different classes of food waste/pulp, the rate at which the worms are able to create compost, and the utility of the compost they produce. As a control we will utilize a separate vermicompost bin with worms fed with common and recommended scraps from our households, excluding all meat and dairy products. The comparisons between the two worm bins will illustrate the viability of having a permanent vermicomposting bin on campus for a more sustainable and worthwhile disposable process.

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