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Helena Grunfeld

Jun 17, 2014


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Hi, As described in your proposal, vermicomposting can be a very efficient tool, with the potential of reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as producing organic inputs for agriculture production. As it has not yet become an integral part of waste management, the question is why. The first stage in scaling this type of waste management is to understand the constraints to applying this method and how those constraints could be overcome. To have any impact on climate change, there would have to be a critical mass, so maybe you should suggest how you envisage this happening. Do you think it is sufficient to approach municipal waste management bodies? What about private waste collectors? What about the financials, compared to doing nothing for the waste management sector? If it is profitable without any assistance, why is it not happening to a greater extent? If it needs financial benefits, is something like carbon credits available for reduction of methane emissions? Also, some waste management facilities produce compost from organic waste. What are the advantages of vermicomposting, compared with other composting?

Hasan Ferdaous

Jun 20, 2014


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great proposal. Go ahead.

Khalid Md Bahauddin

Jun 21, 2014


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Thanks so much helenag for reviewing my proposal. Its an idea where we can do it conveniently and with less complex ways. I have edited my proposal and provided some picture of experiments so that anyone can understand easily. Noted that due to space limitation, I could not discuss all things here. I tried to comments following matter for clarification of your queries The traditional methods of solid waste management by disposal in ‘waste landfills’; wastewater treatment by ‘sewage treatment plants’; land remediation by ‘earth cutting and soil excavation’; and agriculture production by ‘aggressive tillage and land plough’ & use of agrochemicals are all highly expensive & also pollute the environment, emit greenhouse gases inducing global warming. Vermicomposting by earthworms can divert 60-70 % solid wastes from landfills. Vermifiltration involves ‘low energy’ and no ‘sludge’ is formed which requires safe disposal in landfills. Vermiremediation is ‘on-site’ without earth cutting and soil excavation. With continued use of vermicompost farm soils becomes too soft requiring very low tillage. Earthworms works as natural ploughman. We have successfully experimented in ‘vermicomposting of solid wastes’, ‘vermifiltration of ‘municipal and industrial wastewater’, ‘vermiremediation of chemically contaminated soils’ and ‘vermi-agroproduction of cereal and vegetables crops’ with amazing results. Wastes are degraded by over 75% faster & the end-product is highly nutritive organic fertilizer; BOD and TDSS of wastewater is reduced by over 95% & the water become ‘disinfected & detoxified’ to be used in agriculture; chemicals from the contaminated soils are significantly removed also making it fertile; growths of crop plants are enhanced by 30–40% higher over chemical fertilizers by vermicompost. Traditionally, remediation of chemically contaminated soils involves excavation and subsequent disposal by burial in secured landfills. This is very costly affair and merely shifts the contamination problem elsewhere. The greatest advantage of the vermiremediation technology is that it is „on-site‟ treatment and there is no additional problems of „earth-cutting‟, „excavation‟ and „transportation‟ of contaminated soils to the landfills or to the treatment sites incurring additional economic and environmental cost. Vermiremediation would cost about $ 500 - 1000 per hectare of land as compared to $ 10,000 - 15,000 per hectare by mechanical excavation of contaminated soil and its landfill disposal. Significantly, vermiremediation leads to total improvement in the quality of soil and land where the worms inhabit. The polluted land is not only „cleaned-up‟ but also „improved in physical, chemical and biological quality‟. A „wasteland‟ is truly transformed into „wonderland‟. Vermiculture technology for solid waste management, wastewater treatment, soil remediation and farm production, is now being commercialized all over the world as it is both, economically viable and environmentally sustainable for all, developed, underdeveloped and the developing nations with very low energy requirement and hence low carbon foot-prints. Vermicomposting for diverting wastes from landfills and use of vermicompost in agriculture is being commercialized all over the world for mid to large scale vermicomposting of most organic wastes (food and farm wastes and green wastes and also the hazardous wastes like sewage sludge and fly-ash) from developed countries like U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Russia and Japan to developing countries like India, China, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and the Philippines (Bogdanov, 1996; Sherman, 2000). A large scale vermicomposting plants have been installed in US and Canada to vermicompost municipal and farm wastes and use the vermicompost and other vermiproducts for „organic farming‟ (GEORG, 2004; Hahn, 2011). UK is promoting vermicomposting mainly for waste management and to reduce the needs of „waste landfills‟. Large 1000 metric ton vermicomposting plants have been erected in Wales to compost diverse organic wastes (Frederickson, 2000). France is also promoting vermicomposting on commercial scale to manage all its MSW and reduce the needs of landfills. In France, several tons of mixed household wastes are being vermicomposted everyday using 1000 to 2000 million red tiger worms (Elsenia andrei). (Visvanathan et al., 2005). The „Envirofert Company‟ of New Zealand is vermicomposting about 5-6 thousand tons of green waste every year. They are also vermicomposting approximately 40,000 tons of food wastes from homes, restaurants and food processing industries every year. ( (Gary, 2011). Vermiculture is being practiced and propagated on large scale in Australia to divert waste from landfills. Several vermiculture companies have also come up in Australia. (Lotzof, 2000; Dynes, 2003). Vermicomposting is going on in large scale in India to use vermicompost (and vermiwash liquid) in farms and replace the destructive and costly agrochemicals. The Karnataka Compost Development Corporation in India established a first vermicomposting unit in the country to handle all municipal urban solid wastes and is producing 150 to 200 tons of vermicompost every day from city garbage. (Kale 2005). Several vermicomposting companies have come up in States of Bihar, Punjab, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu supplying vermicompost all over India. Vermiremediation by commercial vermiculture in U.K. „Land Reclamation and Improvements Programs‟ has become an established technology for long-term soil decontamination, improvement and maintenance, without earth-cutting, soil excavation and use of chemicals‟. U.S., Australia and other developed nations are also following (Butt, 1999). Inspired by our publication on vermiremediation (Sinha et al., 2008 b) the TETRATECH in US working for USEPA, is using the technology for remediation of Great Lakes soils in California. ( Traditional methods of land and soil remediation involves massive earth cutting and excavation and transport of contaminated soils to treatment sites or landfills using huge amount of energy (fossil fuels) and emission of GHGs. Onsite land remediation by chemical tolerant and resistant earthworms species use minimal energy and also sequester „carbon‟ back into soil as SOC excreted with their vermicast mitigating global warming. All conventional wastewater treatment systems such as the „Activated Sludge‟, „Aerated Lagoons‟ and „Rotating Biological Contactors‟ etc. are high energy (electricity) requiring processes emitting proportional GHGs. The degradation of „organics‟ in the wastewater and slurry emits huge amounts of powerful greenhouse gases methane (CH4) and nitrous oxides (N2O) and also ammonia (NH3) which creates foul odor. Studies done at Rennes University, France on effects of earthworms on gaseous emissions during vermifiltration of animal wastewater indicates that earthworms decrease the emissions of methane and nitrous oxides and also ammonia. More the population of earthworms in the vermifilter bed lesser is the emissions of those gases. (Luth et al, 2011). Much of the world‟s carbon is held in the soils, including the farm soils as „soil organic carbon‟ (SOC). The global pool of SOC is about 1,550 Pg C (1 Pg= 1,000 million metric tons or MMT) i.e. 41 %. The loss of SOC as CO2 due to aggressive „ploughing and tillage‟ in the wake of modern chemical agriculture and mechanized farming practices has augmented the atmospheric carbon pool as greenhouse gas further inducing the global warming and climate change. Of the increase of atmospheric carbon over the last 150 years, about a third (33.3 %) is thought to have come from agriculture (Robbins, 2004). Australia has 473 million hectares of agricultural land and emitted 537 million tones of CO2 in 2009. (Leu, 2011). All over the world agricultural and environmental scientists are trying to reverse the trend by putting more carbon back into the soil – a process called „carbon sequestration‟ through the use of all composts including earthworms vermicompost. Earthworms secrete „humus‟ and hence the vermicompost contains more „stable forms of carbon‟ as „humates‟ which remains in the soil for long periods of time. Compost use in farms would „sequester‟ huge amounts of atmospheric carbon (CO2) and bury them back into the soil, mitigate greenhouse gases and global warming. Composts are in fact disintegrated products of „plant biomass‟ which are formed from atmospheric CO2 fixed during photosynthesis by green plants. Plants absorb atmospheric CO2 and converts them into „plant material‟ (biomass) in sunlight. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2000) recognized that carbon (C) sequestration in soils as one of the possible measures through which the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global warming can be mitigated. Applying composts to agricultural lands could increase the amounts of carbon (C) stored in these soils and contribute significantly to the reduction of GHG. Application of composts to the soil can lead either to a build-up of soil organic carbon (SOC) over time, or a reduction in the rate at which soil organic matter (SOM) is being depleted from soils – thus benefiting the soil and the environment in every way (Bolan, 2011). All vermiculture technologies – vermicomposting (for solid waste management), vermifiltration (for wastewater treatment), vermiremediation (for land and soil decontamination) and vermiagroproduction (use of vermicompost for farm production) can be used as most economical and sustainable alternatives to some of the „environmentally unfriendly‟ civil engineering methods to achieve those objectives of development while also significantly reducing waste and pollution and the emission of green house gases (GHG). Accounting for the emission of GHG which induce „global warming‟ has become essential in all modern developmental programs. Vermiculture is a growing industry all over the world and a „waste-less‟ enterprise as all by-products (earthworms biomass) and end products (nutritive vermicompost, treated clean and nutritive water and remediated fertile land and soil – all disinfected and detoxified) are economically „useful‟. Earthworms are truly justifying the beliefs and fulfilling the dreams of Sir Charles Darwin who called them as „unheralded soldiers’ of mankind‟ and „friends of farmers‟ and said that „there may not be any other creature in world that has played so important a role in the history of life on earth’. They are also justifying the beliefs of great Russian scientist Dr. Anatoly Igonin who said „Nobody and nothing can be compared with earthworms and their positive influence on the whole living Nature. They create soil and improve soil’s fertility and provides critical biosphere’s functions: disinfecting, neutralizing, protective and productive’. World knew about the traditional roles of earthworms in farm waste management and farm production, but the „new discoveries‟ about their role in vermicomposting of hazardous wastes (sludge and fly-ash), treatment of „wastewaters‟ (even toxic industrial wastewater), „chemically polluted soils‟, and more recently about their uses in lubricant, detergent, feed and pharmaceutical industries for developing „life-saving medicines‟ have brought a revolution in the vermiculture studies. The earthworms truly combines the attributes of both „environmental and civil engineers‟ and a „producer and protector‟ for human civilization.

Alfred Grand

Jun 21, 2014


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Dear helenag, the reason, that vermicomposting is still not used on a broader scale is, that this is not so much a technical process, but livestock keeping. Within the waste management industry, most employes and decision makers are engineers and technicians. For a successful operation, it is even more important that the responsible workers can handle this livestock in an optimal way, otherwise the performance goes down quite fast. This is also the reason, why a lot of operations failed in the past. The continuous flow vermicomposting process helps a lot to make vermicomposting suitable even in industrial countries and countries, where the climate is not acceptable for outdoor production all over the year. The separation of the end product from worms and cocoons (worm eggs) is an important benefit of such an continuous flow process and makes the end product marketable.

Ujala Qadir

Jul 1, 2014


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Hi, On behalf of the Climate Colab Waste Management team, I would like to thank you for submitting your proposal. You have presented an excellent case for the use of vermicomposting to help reduce emissions from landfills. I am not very familiar with the concept of vermicomposting, so I cannot comment on the technical aspects of your proposal. However, I see from your response to the previous comments that vermiculture is a rapidly growing waste management approach and growing industry. Based on this information, it would be great if you could identify how your concept will bring innovation to the approach. Moreover, some operational and planning details would strengthen your proposal. Especially fleshing out the sections on what actions will be taken and who will do them. It would be useful for the proposal reviewers to see your ideas and specific details on who you would approach, what is your initial target market, how you would market, what would you do with any funding received to help take this idea forward? This is where you can bring in more innovation to the concept. Good luck with taking your project forward. Best Regards, Ujala

Agharese Lucia Ojelede

Jul 20, 2014


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Hello, Good proposal information but you have stated that implementation will be done by anyone. The assumption therefore is that you do not have any intention of implementing it personally but if you intend to implement this, do you have a specific location selected for this. Pricing is also important even though it is just an estimate so that anyone that wants to implement will understand the cost implication. You still have a few hours to provide this input. All the best. Arese

Climate Colab

Aug 13, 2014


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Thank you for your proposal in the Climate CoLab. We are big fans of vermicomposting however would like to see how this proposal brings something new to the table. As it is presented now, it does not suggest a novel approach. To advance to the final round, we would need to see which communities and community partners you are (or would be) working with, as well as detailed implementation plan and/or business plan.

Climate Colab

Sep 12, 2014


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Permaculture is a simple technology, and we need to be using it as part of a system in conjunction with many other technologies. However, this proposal doesn't reach far enough. I like technologies that are straight forward, as they are more likely to sustain, but I don't see what's innovative or new in this proposal's implementation plan. Thanks for your work in this field.

Gary Ford

Mar 17, 2015


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This is the way to go as vermicomposting is has been proven to work in a lot of country's, India are using worms to produce high quality vermicompost as a alternative to NPK etc which have been used for far to long as a quick fix to fast growing crops.the USA are getting big on it as well if vermicompost can cut down on the land fill sites and produce a quality soil amendment this can only be a good thing Gary

Eris Toomer

Aug 18, 2015


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Greetings, Thank you for this fantastic proposal. As a citizen scientist I have been excited about the opportunity of vermiculture/gray water filtration for industry for several years. Most people know about the oil crisis but very few are aware of the global soil crisis. The simple fact is that earthworms are to soil fertility what bumblee bees are to plant fertility : ) My passion for this subject has inspired me to launch a Kickstarter and GoFundMe campaigns to raise matching funds for equipment, installation, and ongoing maintenance costs for industrial companies that agree to renovate their wastewater treatment with the aim of achieving 100 zero or negative footprint by 2020. To that end, I have begun approaching companies in industries most responsible for global toxic waste, particularly those related to fabric manufacturing and processing. This has lead to discussion with a large Western US based laundry processing facility that recently achieved LEED Gold certification. The company executives express a great deal of interest in the possibility of integrating Vermiculture and gray water processing into the renovation of the waste treatment system at several of their facilities next year. Besides textile processors and manufacturers, I seek to promote vermiculture to 3rd world countries such as Haiti as well as the famine struck and land ravaged nations of Africa. Please connect with me asap to discuss the possibility of working together to promote vermiculture. Kind regards