OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Recycling Home Waste to Feed My Garden

I recycle food scraps + paper and cardboard via a worm farm which in turn feeds my edible garden.

Photo of Meena Kadri
2 16

Written by

I enjoy coming up with ways that I can reduce my household waste that gets sent to landfill – and am especially interested in ways I can do it which create benefits right where I live. Aside from composting food waste + paper and cardboard for my garden I also have a worm farm.

I use a Hungry Bin worm farm (awesomely designed here in New Zealand!) – but you can also make your own. I keep food scraps in a bucket under my sink and add torn pieces of paper and cardboard from time to time as well. They even like the fluff out of my vacuum cleaner!

When the bucket is full, I tip it into my worm farm where it feeds my worms as it decomposes. Enriched 'worm tea' collects at the bottom of the bin and I can dilute this to use as a plant food in my garden. Currently it's autumn here so I am feeding my leeks, spinach, Swiss chard, celery and the last of my green beans. Every so often I take the bottom layer of decomposed matter out of the bin which forms super rich compost, to give my soil a boost. Even better, I often add scrap cuttings from the garden and waste from vegetables I've harvested back into the worm farm – making it a virtuous circle.

Other friends I know who have worm farms + gardens like chatting about how our worms are going and laugh about them affectionately as pets :^) One friend slowly feeds in her shredded tax records when they expire after 7 years (genius to think that they're now feeding her garden and family!) Kids love checking out what the worms are up to – which makes them more likely to get involved in taking out the recycling bucket than just throwing it on the compost heap.

How might we get more people excited about composting and using worm farms? How might we connect folks without gardens with those who have – or with community /commercial gardens – for this kind of recycling? 


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


I agree. When I go away for a couple of days, I always worry about my worms and I actually check my diet a little more to make sure I give them nutritional stuff. I always assume they are happy when they get their greens.
And because I live in a condo and in Canada, in the winter time, we get way too much worm tea but my friends come over and they leave with their super water for their plants.
I've actually wondered if I could make it a business.

View all comments