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HOW I MANAGED TO REDUCE WASTE BY HALF

Less than a year ago I participated in the 2h training course organised by Bruxelles-Environement in home vermi-composting and it really worked. Looking back to the time when I started to do home-compost, August 2009, I can confirm that the white bag (residual waste for Brussels) has been reduced by more than 50%.
The waste we produce is now so little that we only have to take it out once every two or three weeks!
If you live in an apartment and never heard about vermi-composting you probably think that keeping the garbage at home for 2 weeks must stink as hell… the truth is that it doesn’t because most of the things that stink are biodegradable and hence the worms will eat them without generating odours.

Doing vermi-composting is not difficult but it does require some time and commitment. However, it really pays off in understanding how and what we eat, the cycles of nature –even when living in the city- and in knowing that we are throwing away less stuff which would end up in the incinerator and hence emitting more CO2. Also the by-products of vermi-composting are soil fertilizer and compost which are better than commercial fertilizers and I use for my plants.
The only problem I have is that I produce a bit too much compost for my needs but this is easy to fix by just giving it to your neighbour.

One thing that surprised me is how much water and carbon is in our food; i.e. the worms turn 1kg of food waste into less than 50gr of compost and a bit of fertilizer. When I first harvested the compost it was 6 months after I started and I collected around less than 2kg of compost. Amazing…

If we look at the big picture we can see that in this last year in which I reduced my waste generation in more than 50% without much effort, the European Union continues to deliberate if compost is good or bad, better or worst than incineration, etc and still –after more than 10 years since it first considered it- doesn’t see the point in producing a Biowaste Directive. In the meantime gigatons of waste have been landfilled and incinerated and climate change goes on… it is a good indicator of who does the European Commission listen to when drafting legislation. One more example of how the EU rhetoric is contradicted by its actions: The sad “Do as I say (not as I do)” approach that we are used to.

At a local level, I could have waited for the city of Brussels to start a program of separate collection of organic waste so I wouldn’t need to organize the vermin-composting at home but knowing that the city is obliged to feed the incinerator for the next decades I know too well that this won’t happen.

Conclusion, if you care about climate change, environment and all these sort of things the best is if you start fixing it yourself with small things; by the time the EU or the city gets it right we might be under water.

2 Comments

  1. Sebastian Soanca

    Hi Simon,

    I am trying to do the same as you, recycling vegetable waste.
    I intend to create a small farm of worms, that will be situated on my balcony (Brussels). Do you know where I can buy some worms, and to get some information about increase the number of them (life cycle) ?

    Thank you.
    Kind regards. Sebastian

  2. jm

    Hi Sebastian,
    I got the training in a course organised by Bruxelles Environement 6 years ago, I suggest you contact them. Normally, after the training you could get worms from a neighbour. Otherwise you can always buy them online.
    best,
    JM

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