Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bedding for worm bins and the zen of shredding newspaper

Shredding newspaper has become my second hobby (next to vermicomposting). To provide bedding for my herd, I shred a lot of newspaper.

I like newspaper because it is free and plentiful. The papers come to my home and yesterday's paper is always available.

Office paper works equally well (for an office bin, your shredded office paper would work great). You want long strips, so a standard shredder works (but not a cross-cut shredder). Long, thin strips are better because cross-cut paper tends to mat when wet and you want your bedding to be airy.

Most non-glossy printed material can also be used since most high-quality laser toner and ink-jet inks are non-toxic. If you are going to use a lot of lot of a single source in your worm bin, check with the manufacturer to be certain. The Portland Press Herald uses non-toxic ink.
There is a technique to shred newsprint. I prefer to hold it by the folded edge (1-2 sections at a time) and shred into 1/8-1/4 inch strips. It shreds really easily and it makes a nice swooshing sound. For a long time Bert thought I was sweeping every morning!

Another advantage of newspaper is that shredding it is relaxing. It sounds strange, but I shred A LOT of newspaper, and I have come to enjoy this quotidian task. It is a morning activity I appreciate after I feed my herd. I shred yesterday's paper in the cellar and listen to NPR while I sip my coffee. It is a few minutes of meditation before I start my day.

Happy shredding!



VermontLou said...


I have had trouble with too much juice in the bin. It would have stunk inside but outside i just scooped out the excess liquid every few days. As I move this in for the winter "scooping" will become more troublesome.

My waste is a lot of fruit, garden vegs, and leftovers. It produces a lot of water. I tried adding more bedding to no avail. Is this an overfeeding problem? Do worms care about anaerobic decomposition?

Will this problem be even worse when i start freezing waste per your suggestion regarding fruit flies?


WormMainea said...

Hi Lou,

I just saw your comment. Sorry fo the delayed response.

I suspect you are overfeeding or don't have sufficient air holes in your bin.

I use a LOT of newspaper. I mean a LOT. My bins are typically full of newspaper. I harvest from my bins when they are 70% full.

I woudl work very hard to prevent the bin from becoming anaerobic.


Ruby said...

It is good that you’ve found a way to turn your shredded paper into a more worthy project. Indeed, with so much paper trash around, we need to find alternative ways to at least lessen paper waste. It is also interesting to note that you found relaxation in shredding paper. Is it the sound or the sight of papers being shredded that makes you feel relaxed?

Ruby Badcoe

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