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What Food to Add to the Hungry Bin

To get the most out of your Hungry Bin, it's important to feed your worms the foods they prefer, and avoid foods that discourage feeding and create an unfavorable environment. Doing so will maximize the success you have in creating nutrient-rich fertilizer from your home waste!

A Student Adding Food to the Hungry Bin

The wrong foods in your Hungry Bin will be ignored and not eaten, sitting untouched and rotting at the top of your bin. Not only could this cause your bin to smell, it could also encourage your worms to attempt escaping, while also attracting unwanted bugs, pests, and rodents. While I admit that watching worms attempt to escape is generally entertaining, it's not the best for composting and growing your hard-working worm population.

Like humans, compost worms benefit greatly from a balanced diet. Read on for more information on what foods to place inside your Hungry Bin, and which to avoid completely.

Foods to Add

eggshells are a welcomed healthy addition to your bin
There are a variety of foods and household waste products that your worms will enjoy. As mentioned, it is best to add variety in their diet, adding a little of each foot/waste category when it becomes available. Here are some of the best waste items to add to your Hungry Bin:
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (with a few exceptions)
  • Juice pulp
  • Cooked or prepared food (Read more in Foods to Avoid)
  • Used tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Crushed eggshells (shell only)
  • Hair, vacuum cleaner dust, soiled paper, tissues, handy towels, shredded egg cartons, toilet roll inners, paper lunch wrap
  • Shredded moist newspaper & cardboard
  • Lawn clippings in small quantities (spray free), weeds, clippings, prunings, dirt and leaves
  • Sawdust and wood ash from untreated wood
  • Animal Manure: Make sure the animals have not received anti-worm medication. That would obviously be a poor choice.

Purchase a Hungry Bin

Foods to Avoid

some foods like meat are bad for your worm compost bin

As important as it is too feed your worms the correct items, it's equally or more important to avoid feeding the following foods to your compost worms. Doing so could have a negative impact on the worms and create a pile of unwanted and rotting food.

  • Fats or oils (or foods with high oil and fat content)
  • Shiny or waxed paper
  • Bread, pasta and processed wheat products
  • Meat scraps or pieces
  • Products that contain dairy (cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • Spicy foods, onion, garlic, leeks, capsicums
  • Citrus or any acidic fruit skin
  • Processed foods with preservatives
  • Dog or cat waste, particularly if you plan on fertilizing your garden (gut parasites often exist and can potentially infect humans)

Over time, you might notice that some waste items just don't seem to draw the attention of your worms. If these items sit untouched for extended periods or begin rotting before consumed, do not add these items to the bin moving forward.

 Additional Tips

Choosing the proper food waste to give your worms is a great step towards creating a successful bin. However, there are additional helpful tips that will help you maximize the output you get from your Hungry Bin:

  • Soft or smaller scraps: Worms can more easily break down and digest foods when softer and/or chopped into smaller pieces. Larger pieces are more difficult to consume and take more time, making them more susceptible to spoiling.
  • Add Variety: Don't feed the same thing day after day to your worms. Bring some variety, which will allow you to see what produces best. If you notice something is commonly ignored by the worms, dial it back.
  • Minimize Lawn Clippings: Do not add too many lawn clippings at once, as fresh lawn clippings have the tendency to heat up quickly and cause problems. This is particularly true in warmer climates or during summer months.
  • Don't Overfeed: Added food should be spread out evenly on the top layer. Do not add more than 1 inch per day. If food starts piling up, slow down. Uneaten food should not be deeper than 2 inches at any time.
  • Balance Acidity: To keep your been fresh and smelling sweet, add fibrous materials on occasion: shredded paper or cardboard, dead and dried tree leaves, brown grass clippings. The will help balance the acidity of your bin.

Conclusion

The Hungry Bin is a truly extraordinary flow through worm bin that can be used by your family, your local restaurants and school, as well as in a commercial environment.  If fed and maintained correctly, it can process up to 4 pounds of organic waste every single day. That's over 1,400 pounds of organic waste each year from a single bin! Can you imagine reducing your waste footprint by that much?! Imagine the impact of having multiple bins.

But learning what your worms like and don't like will go a long way in determining how successful you are with your vermicomposting bin. Like humans, worms have preferences for what they consume. Just watch, learn, and adapt.

We hope this article is helpful in sending you on your way. If you have additional questions or feedback for our team, please reach out to us by Chat, Phone, or Email, and we will work WITH you to help you succeed.