Posts Tagged ‘Worms’

The Benefits of Dumpster Diving

March 7, 2017



the-system-was-never-broken-it-was-built-this-wayThis form of saving the world’s economy  and ecology while making a living at the same time is becoming increasingly popular.  It is Dumpster diving!

In its crudest form it is saving and re-using stuff that gets thrown out in dumpsters or  on the streets.  In Europe this has caught on enormously and gaining momentum as we speak. Well-dressed former business people and unemployed accountants are seen diving dumpsters. In Australia this dumping of superfluous goods is most noticeable during Shire-Council collection days. The much loved grassy bits in front of our suburban houses are temporarily surrendered and given over to our unwanted goods by those living adjacent to those grass strips, euphemistically called ‘nature strip.’  Dogs love them too.

Years ago, this dumping had already started in Balmain. We lived in Balmain till 1996. In the nineties this inner city working class suburb was starting to morph into respectability. Endless jackhammering and expensive renovations were normal. Television personalities were moving in with expert lawyers.  Nervous estate agents roaming the streets looking for juicy deals. I rescued a fridge and  TV. After dragging them home ,  I switched them on and they worked. I was baffled. Who would throw things out that were working?

That was just the beginning.

I have since rescued many unloved items, including a box full of TV antennas. Who would throw out TV antennas? Were they stolen? While I have no qualms about dragging some goods home or scanning charity shops for fashion items, I have yet to rescue discarded culinary delights. I have looked but not yet partaken. Next time when you are near any food outlets, go and look inside food-bins that are close by fast food outlets. It leaves me wondering if people sometimes buy take-away without feeling hungry. A few weeks ago I had a look inside a bin near a Domino Pizza place. It had a pizza still in the box with just one bite taken out. It appeared to be a meat-lover pizza as it had different kinds of sausage, salami and a slurry, perhaps a mince meat mixture. There was nothing wrong with it and still fresh. I am sure those bins get emptied each day. I wasn’t hungry, but even so… a nice slice of salami?

From living frugally with ‘waste not wont not’ still ringing in our ears from early parental upbringing, it stood the times. My parents ultimate disapproval would be reserved for those wasting food. During the war we would delight in scarce potato peelings soup dinners, dancing around the table. My parents never let up telling us how food was so scarce during the war. Over-fed toddlers now get Dr Seuss bed-time stories told. War kids got soup kitchen adventures and potato-skin soup stories re-told shivering under newspaper-made blankets.. Even now, I don’t peel potatoes and we scuff the lot instead. If plastic spoons and forks had been available during those times, I am sure they would got eaten. We never throw out food. If the bread gets mouldy we toast or,  if green, put it to the worms. We are both united in this, and leftovers never wasted.

Diving in Dumpsters is now not just for derelicts or vagabonds. It has become popular by entrepreneurial people who make a living from passing on and selling what they can scour out of bins. They are to be seen early in the mornings. Some take buckets with them. The more organized have trolleys. The economic downturns and lack of adequate welfare wakens survival instincts and this industry has sprung up as a result.

There are those that predict dire economic results from the frugality phenomenon now sweeping the world. Apparently the economy depends on us spending what we don’t have. Australia is badly situated with our private debt being one of the largest in the world.  An increase in interest rates or a downturn in real estate could easily spin out of control very quickly.  On the other hand to keep spending what we don’t have is just as loopy.

The Domino discarded food in bins might yet come in handy.

Venture capital needed for Worm Farm.

October 25, 2015
The house in Currumbin Eco Village

The house in Currumbin Eco Village

When we were at the Eco Village we lived in a magnificent house that is owned by a Dutch lady who spent the week in South Australia. While there, and walking around her beautiful garden, I noticed a structure consisting of round black plastic containers stacked on top of each other. Underneath was a bucket that contained a black molasses type of liquid that seemed to be oozing out through a tap fastened at the bottom of this multi layered structure. I thought at first it might have been a bee-hive. I opened the top lid and noticed it contained food scraps. I poked around a bit and soon found out this was a worm-factory. It was clearly something that would recycle food waste into soil by hard working worms.

There were whole clusters of shiningly healthy red coloured worms. They were clearly very hungry, squirming about. They reared their heads, looking at me as if in need of something. Were they giving me a hint? I went inside the house and told Helvi about my discovery.  She knew something about people breeding worms for the garden but it was too early in the morning for her. I could not entice her to go out and share in my newly found animal kingdom. She preferred instead to sip her coffee and look at mums and joey kangaroos  cavorting outside near our back balcony.

Cavorting Kangaroos at Eco Village

Cavorting Kangaroos at Eco Village


After our return from the delights of the Eco village at Currumbin, Helvi decided she too wanted to have worms growing by the thousands. We went to Home-Hardware and bought at great costs the basic worm breeding contraption. For unfathomable reasons this is called a ‘worm -farm’. When running this contraption past the cashier, she duly scanned it and we paid the amount that came up on the register. ($75.-) She was very friendly and asked ‘ are you planning to breed worms?’  Yes, I said, adding, ‘ how long does it actually take before you can ‘actually’ eat them?’ ‘I believe they make a good stir-fry’?   ‘Oh no, this is for the garden only.’  She took me seriously. I was going to ask, if one is not going to eat them ,why call it a ‘farm’? Usually farms are where people grow edible things , either in vegetation or animals. Anyway, I wasn’t going to expand on my silly joke seeing the girl wasn’t into  my school-boy humour at all.

The worms don’t come up by themselves. It can only be achieved by buying a ‘starter- pack’. A starter- pack costs $ 52.- for 1000 worms. A booster pack costs $28.- for a mere 500 worms. It is also suggested you buy a coconut fibre block. Apparently worms will simply refuse to cohabitate or mate, if denied the joy of this fibre ($ 22.-) . A warm fibre blanket on top of worms to give them privacy is also recommended. ($9.90)  With all the costs adding up I was tempted to suggest the name from worm-farm ought to be changed to worm-hotel.

The good thing is that all the carton packing and wrapping in which all these worm related items came in can be put into the worm farm for the worms to convert in rich black soil. It is actually called ‘worm-castings’, as if the worms are elevated on some kind of theatre- stage.

Anyway. It has been four days now since two lots of ‘booster-worms’ ( $56-) were released on top of the coconut fibre and underneath the blanket. They must be busy mating like mad. (something I can only be envious off) I gave them some left- over Basmati rice and marinated chicken from last night and only hope they will do their job and convert it into soil for our Clematis and Hardenbergia which we planted at the same time.

I just wonder how they can sell worms in lots of 1000 and 500. Do they count them? When worms mate, how do they recognize each other? Are they faithful?

Someone is making a nice little earner in breeding worms.