Worms DownUnder was established to provide an environmentally sound option for dealing with organic waste. Currently 60% of waste arriving at landfill is organic waste which can easily be diverted and processed into high quality liquid and solid products. Organic waste such as food scraps, manures, paper, garden waste, etc. in landfill is cause for concern. When rotting landfill waste breaks down anaerobically in landfill it releases methane which when released into the atmosphere holds 21% more heat than carbon dioxide. Reducing methane emissions by reducing organic waste in landfill has an immediate positive environmental effect. In addition, transportation of waste by trucks has a significant impact due to carbon dioxide emissions, which can be reduced by on-site processing.
Paul Harrey and Pene Mitchell started Worms DownUnder because of their environmental passion and the understanding that there was a great need for better processing of organic waste. Worms DownUnder’s goal is to have individuals and organizations across Australia successfully diverting their organic waste from landfill using on-site vermiculture and/or composting. The resultant products from the vermiculture process are nutrient rich castings and liquid.
The vision for Worms Downunder is to become a hub for sustainable organic waste management, including:
Provision of worms and worm farm systems across Australia;
Development of large scale systems for processing large amounts of organic waste (tonnage per week);
Support for individuals, organizations and councils in dealing with organic waste;
Undertaking of research and development to determine appropriate solutions to waste management problems which address environmental concerns;
Dissemination of information about the environmental benefits of recycling organic waste using worms;
Dissemination about the benefits of vermiculture products for plants and soil, locking in carbon, storing water, and supporting organic farming.
Worms DownUnder is passionate about ensuring a clean, safe and sustainable future.
Minimise water and energy use: Worms DownUnder is self-sufficient in water and utilises green energy options, as well as trying to reduce our use of these valuable commodities;
Buy from local suppliers: many of our manufacturing components are sourced from local businesses, to reduce transport and support local communities and small businesses;
Only use recycled or recyclable packaging: we have taken considerable time to ensure 100% of our packaging is either recycled or recyclable. Our worm bags for example can be fed to the worms, and the plastic we use is 100% recyclable. Paper and boxes can also be fed to the worms, along with the tape which is cellulose based. We also only used 100% recycled paper for all our printing, and scrap paper is used in the office for our printing requirements.
Minimise waste: Worms DownUnder do not have waste bin collection and the small amounts of waste from the business fit into our household recycling or waste bin. As a family we actively try to reduce our waste, using our own bags, reducing packaging waste by buying direct from farmers or at markets, or buying in bulk;
Recognise the significance of Design-for-Disassembly: all our products have been viewed with end-of-life scenarios so that they can be dismantled, reused and recycled.
Transport: Our biggest impact on the environment would definitely be transport, but we are actively addressing this issue by searching for manufacturers and distributors Australia-wide. In doing this we can source supplies from local areas and ensure local businesses are being supported.
At Worms DownUnder we consider the life cycle implications of our products and our business, and are always trying to improve the way we operate to minimise our impact on the environment. If you have any suggestions on how we can increase our environmental commitment, please let us know click here.
Waste education is extremely important to us and we have contributed to numerous education programs. We have given talks and workshops at a diverse range of locations including World Environment Day (Sunshine Coast University), PowerLink (Brisbane), Compost Week (Brisbane), Origin (Brisbane), Oaks Flats Bowls Club (NSW), Creek Sustainability Expo (Caboolture), Sustainability at the J (Noosa), Cooroy Sustainability Expo (Cooroy) to name a few. We have also contributed to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council’s (SCRC) Waste Management Taskforce. Worms Downunder has also been approached numerous times to participate in educational Television programs being screened around Australia. We have been involved with Totally Wild and Scope educating children in better waste management processes and the benefits of worms. Educating children and working with schools is of particular importance.
In 2009 a pilot project was initiated at the Hyatt Regency Coolum, the largest employer on the Sunshine Coast. The educational potential disseminating from this system is significant. The first audit undertaken has shown the three module system installed is already processing 300kgs per week of kitchen scraps and paper waste. The Hyatt no longer requires the off-site services of a document shredder and also uses the resultant products on their grounds. The 2009 PGA Golf Tournament at the Hyatt featured Worm Habitats for disposal of tickets!
Worms Downunder has also installed a Worm Habitat Grande System at the Eumundi State School in order to process Eumundi Market waste. This initiative is allowing children to have a hands-on role in collecting waste, dealing with stall holders, learn about waste, recycling, life cycles, and mini-beasts. They will also market and sell the products produced through the vermiculture process.
Sustainable Waste Management
Worms Downunder developed out of a passion to sustainably manage waste. Using worms to process organic waste closes the loop allowing processed waste to become a treasured commodity which addresses numerous environmental issues including:
Carbon Sequestration: Worms allow carbon to be sequestered in the soil;
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Vermiculture minimises greenhouse gas emissions, acid leachate, and ground water contamination;
Reduction of Fertilisers: Use of castings and liquid allows fertiliser and pesticide use to be reduced or stopped and promotes sustainable agriculture practices;
Water Storage: Castings store water at a rate of 10:1 reducing run-off of vital nutrients and promoting;
Reduction of waste to landfill: Up to 60% of waste arriving at landfill is organic waste which can be processed by worms sustainable water-use practices
10 tons per day and counting!
In the last 4 years Worms Downunder has supplied:
more than 10 million worms across Australia; and,
thousands of Worm Habitat systems.
We approximate that at least 10 tons per day of waste has been taken out of the waste stream using our systems. Help us increase the amount of waste being diverted from landfill and do your garden a favour!
Australian soils have been depleted of beneficial organic matter. Using castings on the soil can help lock-in carbon and aid establishing a fertile ecologically balanced earth. Castings also store water at a rate of 10:1, which means less watering and loss of valuable nutrients during heavy downpours.
Worms DownUnder has sold systems to schools, councils, city-based offices, the mining industry, farmers, zoos, youth hostels, gyms, restaurants, bowling clubs, caravan parks, horticulturalists, universities, gyms, and many more organisations and individuals. We have also supplied worms for the local award-winning Biolytix system, and as far away as Egypt where they are starting a much needed breeding program.
Worms Downunder are proud of their recent awards for sustainability. We recently won the 2009 Caloundra Chamber of Commerce Award for Eco-business of the Year and also the 2009 Sunshine Coast Environment Council’s Award for Sustainable Waste Management see more