Worms Pooping Cash: TerraCycle's Formula for Success

  • Thread starter Ivan Seeking
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In summary: He would dump a bucket of coffee grounds into a large plastic tub, add water, and put the tub in the sun to soak for a few days. Then he'd dump the mixture into a smaller bucket and add meat and kitchen scraps (like eggshells and onion skins) to make it more appealing to the worms. The worms would eat the meat and leave the scraps behind. He would then dump the mixture into a hole in the ground, cover it with dirt, and wait a few weeks for the worms to do their job.
  • #1

Ivan Seeking

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(CNN) -- Add heaps of red worms to mountains of raw, rotting garbage. Then collect the worms' feces, brew it into a liquid, and squeeze it into a used soda bottle.

Sound like a twisted fourth-grade boy's concoction for messing with his sister? Not quite. Rather, it is TerraCycle's formula for success in the growing, if messy, organic fertilizer business.

..."We're not doing this to save the environment," said co-founder and CEO Tom Szaky, 25, a Hungarian-born, Canadian-bred Princeton drop-out whose company was recently recognized as having a "net zero" negative impact by the nonprofit environmental group, Zerofootprint. "We're doing this to show you can make a lot of money while helping save the environment." [continued]
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/01/organic.fertilizer/index.html?eref=rss_topstories
 
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  • #2
Wasen't there a jingle? Red Wigglers the Cadillac of Worms? Oh yes WKRP!
 
  • #3
Red Wigglers the Cadillac of Worms
 
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  • #4
Ahahahahha, that was as close to a flashback as I ever want to get.
 
  • #5
Would giving the worms little colostomy bags make harvesting the poop easier and more efficient?
 
  • #7
Evo said:
Would giving the worms little colostomy bags make harvesting the poop easier and more efficient?

:rofl: Presently they are toilet training the worms.
 
  • #8
turbo-1 said:
We add worms to our compost bins for a reason. Those little guys can poop up a storm!

Worms are fatty, so I took a look at the possibility of grinding them up for the production of biodiesel. Tsu didn't like that idea very much.
 
  • #9
Ivan Seeking said:
Worms are fatty, so I took a look at the possibility of grinding them up for the production of biodiesel. Tsu didn't like that idea very much.

:rofl: Yeah, but it would have been worth it just to watch the PETA protesters show up. :biggrin: :rofl:

I think I had heard about this a while ago, and I think part of the deal was that the red worms work best because they aren't as sensitive about needing very particular environments in terms of humidity and presence of soil, so you can toss them into a pile of garbage and they're happy as...well...worms.
 
  • #10
Moonbear said:
:rofl: Yeah, but it would have been worth it just to watch the PETA protesters show up. :biggrin: :rofl:

I think I had heard about this a while ago, and I think part of the deal was that the red worms work best because they aren't as sensitive about needing very particular environments in terms of humidity and presence of soil, so you can toss them into a pile of garbage and they're happy as...well...worms.
When I was a kid, I ran a little worm business for a couple of summers. I would collect piles of maple leaves (oak leaves do not rot fast enough) and mound them up near the end of the vegetable garden and keep putting vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc in the piles, and watered them regularly to keep them damp. When fishermen saw my "worms" sign and stopped in, I would take them out back, peel back a section of the leaf pile, and count out worms by the dozens until they had enough. I'd also throw in a handful of the rotted compost to keep the worms damp and happy until they got their turn on the hook. There were some customers who came back over and over because the worms were so fresh and lively compared to the store-bought ones.
 
  • #11
Tsu has been using worm compost for gardening for years. We bought a system from a friend who was really into this way back when - really just to help him out more than anything, but it has turned out to be very practical Coffee grounds are the best. You don't want to use meat but plant matter is fine. It's just a series of two-foot diameter plastic trays with holes, that are stacked. The worms migrate through the different levels to the new garbage while leaving clean compost in the lower ones. It's all very clean and tidy.
 
  • #12
Ivan Seeking said:
Tsu has been using worm compost for gardening for years. We bought a system from a friend who was really into this way back when - really just to help him out more than anything, but it has turned out to be very practical Coffee grounds are the best. You don't want to use meat but plant matter is fine. It's just a series of two-foot diameter plastic trays with holes, that are stacked. The worms migrate through the different levels to the new garbage while leaving clean compost in the lower ones. It's all very clean and tidy.
My dad used to raise worms for fishing and used coffee grounds. That brings back memories.
 
  • #13
Evo said:
My dad used to raise worms for fishing and used coffee grounds. That brings back memories.
I don't know why coffee grounds seem to work so well. Maybe it perks up the worms so they work harder. :yuck: Definitely, no meat scraps in the pile, just nice green stuff (vegetable scraps, weeds, etc) with brown stuff (the maple leaves) and things like egg shells, clean paper, and the coffee grounds. The piles were not smelly or messy, and they were loaded with nice worms intent on burrowing, eating and making baby worms. I sold them for 10 cents a dozen and never seemed to run out of them.
 
  • #14
I experimented with raising worms. My goal was to recycle paper products. They will eat any paper, because it's essentially plant matter. It seemed to me that garbage from cities and towns on the Amazon could be fed to worms who would turn it into fertilizer which could be used on the deforested areas that can't even support weeds after a couple years of growing grass for cattle.

Anyway, I would also feed them any vegetable peels from the kitchen. I tried banana peels once and was surprised to find they loved them and would crowd into eat the banana peels before anything else.
 
  • #15
Evo said:
Would giving the worms little colostomy bags make harvesting the poop easier and more efficient?
Aren't you supposed to be writing a story about snakes that set up a co-op or something? It sounds like you might've got the story lines a little crossed, there.

Aren't* I supposed to be programming?

Ach, well, after 80 hours last week (most of it since Wednesday), I'm a little fried.


* grammar manglation deliberate
 
  • #16
when an invertebrates poop is worth gold, what does that say about mankind :rolleyes:

I wish I could make my living pooping in can

ong second thought... maybe not.
 

1. How does TerraCycle turn worms' poop into cash?

TerraCycle uses a process called vermicomposting, where worms are fed organic waste such as food scraps and their poop, or castings, are collected and processed into a nutrient-rich fertilizer. This fertilizer is then sold to various companies as a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers, generating revenue for TerraCycle.

2. Is this method environmentally sustainable?

Yes, vermicomposting is a natural and sustainable way to manage organic waste. It reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and produces a valuable fertilizer that can improve soil health and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

3. How does TerraCycle ensure the safety and quality of their fertilizer?

TerraCycle follows strict guidelines and regulations set by government agencies to ensure the safety and quality of their fertilizer. They also conduct thorough testing and analysis to ensure that their product meets industry standards.

4. What types of companies use TerraCycle's fertilizer?

TerraCycle's fertilizer is used by a variety of companies in different industries, including agriculture, landscaping, and gardening. Some well-known brands that use their fertilizer include Home Depot and Scotts Miracle-Gro.

5. Can individuals also use TerraCycle's fertilizer in their home gardens?

Yes, TerraCycle offers their fertilizer for purchase to individuals through their online store. They also have a program called "Zero Waste Boxes" where individuals can collect and send in their own organic waste to be processed into fertilizer.

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