Indoor Vermicomposting - recyclable amount, acceptance and motivation in Vienna


Bachelor thesis by Yasemin Eker and David Witzeneder at the Division of Organic Farming (IFÖL) in the Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna (Austria). Supervised by Christian R. Vogl.

In Vienna about 58 % of organic waste ends up in the residual waste, therefore important resources get irretrievably lost every day. Vermicomposting in small wooden boxes is an opportunity to reuse organic waste with the help of compost worms (Eisenia fetida) who produce a high quality fertilizer, needing only little space. Thereby it is possible to recycle organic matter even in confined spaces, such as flats. In the process of Vermicomposting all food waste, except for waste of animal origin, can be used . Additionally untreated paper and carton, which make up about 10% of the residual waste, can be added.

But technical possibilities are limited by social acceptance. Through quantitative surveys in Vienna, including owners of wormboxes, the acceptance and motivation for usage was elevated. For many people Indoor Vermicomposting is an unknown terrain. 40 % of the respondents (f=7 n=17) without access to bio-waste containers would not want try Vermicomposting in their homes. They voiced concerns about fetidness, mildew and flies. Over 90 % (f=32 n=35) of those questioned claim that the wormboxes should not allure flies, should be odourless and escape- proof.

How come is it that people still get into vermicomposting? Main reasons are ecological recycling of organic waste because of ethical beliefs and having a wormbox is also seen as trend factor.

With the help of Vermicomposting approximately 86.100 tons of organic matter could be recycled in Vienna annually.


Addition 2016

In summer 2015 David Witzeneder, one author of this Bachelor thesis, founded an enterprise which is constructing wooden wormboxes and ships them within Europe.

More details can be found on www.1000worms.com and www.wurmkiste.at .