We Wriggle Your Waste

We Wriggle Your Waste

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to jam a shredder in under 5 minutes.

So yesterday the planets aligned in just the right configuration that the kids were out of the house, I had a wheelie bin full of veggies, the weather was pleasant enough to be out side and my shredder was working and ready to go. I began loading the hopper with fists full of lettuce and celery and watched with glee as a green mush began spewing out of the other end.  Hooray, I have had this shredder for over a month and due to oil issues and bad weather I had not had a chance to test it out.

I continued filling the hopper with greens and just for good measure I threw in a butternut pumpkin. Mistake number one. I noticed that the green mush had stopped pumping out so I investigated and sure enough the hopper was blocked. I needed to unblock it and continue makeing mush so I used a piece of wood to push it down. Mistake number two. The pumpkin was indeed blocking it but as I pushed down on the wood it gave way and the wood was wrenched out of my hand and into the shredder.

Now this is a heavy duty shredder and it did a good job smashing that wood into tiny bits but all the green mush stoped it flying out as it would have done normally and so the pieces began to get caught in the blades. When the smoke began coming from the engine I began to get a bit worried. I switched it off and began the process of dismantling it so I could clear the wood out. All this in the first five minuets. Joy.

Once the shredder was back together I began again.

The shredder works like a combine harvester. It has two end plates that are connected by five poles. Each pole has four spinning blades so that once it is in motion it shreds through things with ease. I ended up reducing a 240lt wheelie bin into a 65lt black tub.

Now as you can see there is a lot of liquid in that tub and we don't want that to go to waste so I began shredding some old newspaper and magazines that we had been saving.

Now where the shredder reduced the volume of veggies from 240lt to 65lt, it increased the volume of the paper by fluffing it up and adding air into it. Just what I wanted. I ended up using two times the amount shown above.

After the shredding was complete I put it all into the concrete mixer and let it spin as I swept up all the shredded paper that didn't make it into the tub. There was a lot.

Tada. Appetising isn't it? So the paper soaked up most of the liquid and also adds a structure to the mush that will allow air to continue to flow through the mix. So from a wheelie bin and a big box of paper I ended up with one wheel barrow of worm food. I took it down the back and began to distribute it to the worm farms.

There was still alot of food from the last feed as that was done with out the shredder. Last time I had to use a shovel to try and cut up the veggies so there were still large pieces of carrot, apples and potato that had not been eaten yet. Most of the softer stuff was gone like the tomatoes, zucchini and watermelons so I knew they had been busy. I layered the mush over the top of the other veggies as the worms will return to the bigger stuff later on once the smaller sized mush is gone.

So now I will wait and see how quick the little guys take to finish off this mush, I am hoping that by next Saturday it is mostly gone. Time will tell.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

From idea to reality.

Today marks the first day that I have been able to achieve the results that I have spent the past 2 years speculating about.

I should probably start at the beginning and go from there.

"One day I will save the world", a bit pretentious I know but that statement is what I use as motivation to turn my ideas into reality. My goal is to devise a way to either reuse, recycle or re purpose all waste to prevent it from going to land fill. I plan to do this on a local scale first and then to bring what I have learnt to a global plat form so that it can be used around the world. All these ideas began with one little worm.

It was over ten years ago now that I had my first encounter with a lowly worm.

My first real full time job was in my fathers coffee business. Part of my job was to roast the coffee on our home made coffee roaster. When you roast the green coffee bean it expands and the outer layers of skin or "Husk" comes away as the bean gets drier. This skin is sucked away with the hot air from the roaster and is deposited in a drum. Occasionally a spark or burnt bean is also sucked up with the air and lands in the dry fine husk where it begins to smoulder. Now there isn't quite enough air for it to catch on fire properly but it can smoulder away for hours undetected before it is hosed down and the fire extinguished.

Part of our process to make sure the fire was completely put out was to toss the whole batch of husk on the dirt out side the back of the factory and hose it down. Over time this pile would begin to build up and one day I was told to clear it out into the dump master. The first thing I noticed as I began shoveling it into a bucket was that the ash and husk was only a few inches thick, under this layer was what I though at the time to be a pile of clean dirt. Now this made no sense to me, how could there be all this dirt when it was flat to begin with, and then there were the worms hundreds of worms. Where had they come from and why were they all here.

This was my first brush with Vermicomposting and I needed to know more. Over the years I have done a lot of reading and practical research into breeding and keeping worms. I am buy no means an expert but I feel that I know enough about the benefits of these little guys to make them an integral part of my ultimate goal.

Well that is enough for now, but the story is far from over.