Waste recycling: Worm house

The proposal of recycling household waste with worms continues to be a good alternative to consider for each family.

The most complex and important problem that humans must face in the short term is the reconstruction and maintenance of ecological balance.

All of this within a growth framework based on true sustainability, without compromising the future. The basic concepts of recycling, vermiculture, fertilization and small-scale natural crops can be developed practically in the school and home environment. This was the main objective in the development of our ecological houses.

In a school environment we can fully understand the reproductive process of worms in a small space, from the time the eggs hatch until they reach adulthood. It also allows us to study the different components of waste and their decomposition processes. It gives us guidance on what they would look like if they were taken to an open space where higher levels of recycling take place.

The worm castings

It is easy to test the humus we want to experiment with and check the results live on the plants. In a domestic environment, the worm house can be located in the laundry room or on the balcony. There, children and their families will be able to produce small amounts of vermicompost from household waste to sustain their plants.

Currently, there are academic studies that try to transfer this experience on a large scale, to process large quantities of waste on a large scale. Generally waste from industry.

Throughout history, various manifestations have told us something about worms. Since the Egyptians believed that the fertility of the Nile Valley was due to the action of worms, it was sacred to them. Aristotle also considered them the intestines of the earth, and Darwin studied them in depth, summarized in his "The action of earthworms in the formation of vegetal soil", recognizing that no other animal has played such an important role in world history.

Currently, the fertilizing capacity of cropland can be measured in terms of the number of worms per unit area. They are recognized to constitute the oldest animal biomass on Earth and may represent more than 50% of the total animal mass in Europe, with an average of 0,5 to 2 Tn/Ha. It is believed that in good pastures there is more meat from worms that live underground than from cattle that graze on the surface.

Zoological Classification of worms

Animal Kingdom; annelid type; oligochaetes; family Soridae; gender Eisenia; commonly known as California red worms.

This is the result of research and selection carried out in the United States since 1959, where they achieved the characteristics of being able to reproduce in captivity and in free spaces under specific habitat conditions.

Earthworms are invertebrates and annelids. They move by contraction of rings and muscles. They have both vertical and horizontal mobility.

They live underground and special cells located throughout their bodies warn them of the presence of light, their mortal enemy. The UV rays will kill it in a matter of minutes.

Earthworms are anatomically simple organisms and very well adapted to their environment. Their slimy bodies need to stay cold and moist to survive. Coelomic fluid drained through the dorsal pores serves to keep the body moist.                             

Its color changes with age. They are white at birth, pink at ten days, red in adulthood and reach sexual maturity at three months when they are 6 to 8 centimeters long. And the diameter is 3 to 5 mm.

Reproduction

Hermaphroditism, where mutual fertilization occurs between two worms. Each one lays an egg shaped like a grape seed but olive green in color, from which between seven and twenty babies are born.

Its ability to multiply in geometric proportions during its 15-year lifespan under favorable conditions is astonishing.

From birth, worms are self-sufficient; They feed individually and only need to ensure that the substrate they are on is moist and soft enough to be pierced by their tiny mouths.

An adult red worm weighs 1 gram and eats food corresponding to its body weight every day, of which almost 60% is excreted in the form of humus. The rest is assimilated and metabolized for nutrition.

They don't hear sound, but they feel vibrations. They breathe through their skin and have no teeth. They have 5 pairs of hearts and 5 pairs of livers.

To eat, the worm sucks the food into its mouth; When it enters the stomach, the glands are responsible for excreting calcium carbonate, whose objective is to neutralize the acid in ingested foods.

Due to this, the removed humus has a neutral PH, with all its benefits as a fertilizer and phytosanitary for plants.

The home of the worms

Going back to our eco-friendly house, it was created not only appreciating its beautiful shape but also with the idea of ​​creating a sense of familiarity with its shape.

In Europe and especially in the United States, these vermiculture tasks have been included in the school programs of some states, as a topic of practical activities, and some universities are working on them with all the scientific technology available, taking advantage of all the potential of vermiculture as solution in the very near future to the problem of waste and crops, especially in the restoration of degraded lands.

The house is built from uncontaminated industrial waste, which is subjected to a temperature and pressure process. It is made of aluminum, cardboard and polyethylene, and does not contain any phenolic or chemical materials.

This material has a very low thermal conductivity, so it insulates heat and sound well, creating favorable conditions for the growth of worms.

It is ideal to not be affected by humidity, since it is water resistant. Another advantage is the low probability of fire spread.

The construction of the house

It is designed to offer maximum handling comfort.

It has a rectangular shape and has sliding trays on its interior faces. On one side there are two windows that not only give it the appearance of a small house, but also allow you to see how the process of converting waste into humus occurs.

The worms will not be seen because they flee from the light. The bottom tray is where the humus produced by the worms falls.

In the second part, the bulk of the worms are placed with the already prepared food and on top the food remains are placed, preferably crushed as much as possible to achieve a small particle size that makes the work of the worms easier.

The little house is finished with a gabled roof and in one of them a chimney, which in addition to giving it the appearance of a house, also serves to conduct water for irrigation into the material.

As we can see, in a small space each day we will have the magic laboratory of the nature.

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