Every year millions of tons of organic refuse finds its way to landfills, incinerators, municipal sewer systems and septic systems via trash pickup or garbage disposals. The environmental Protection Agency estimates that on average, each American generates 4.3 pounds of trash each day. On a yearly basis, this is equivalent to burying 82,000 football fields 6 feet deep in compacted garbage. Approximately 47% of this amount is organic in nature. The environmental and financial implications of this are huge. The best way to mitigate the resultant environmental problems might well lie in dealing with it before it enters the waste stream.
Most people are familiar with the process of composting whereby the natural breakdown (decomposition) of organic materials results in a dark soil-like material which has great value as a soil amendment. Composting is a natural occurrence in nature that humans over years have recognized as a process that can be utilized in a managed way to dispose of refuse. One step beyond this and a complement to it is the utilization of worms to compost organic matter. This is known as vermicomposting, vermi being the Latin term for things relating to worms.