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How do I dispose Kitchen waste and garden waste in an Eco friendly manner?

 
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How do I dispose Kitchen waste and garden waste in an Eco friendly manner?
 
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Create a compost pile. You can use the compost you create to keep your lawn and garden healthy.

You can compost: eggshells, nutshells, teabags, coffee grounds, fruits, vegetables and other plant matter.

You cannot compost: dairy products, grease, oils, bones, and meat scraps.

Select a dry shady spot in your yard to keep your compost.
Mix food scraps with plant materials such as dead leaves or branches.
Add water to your compost pile as needed to encourage decomposition.
Turn over your compost pile regularly to mix the top additions into the base of the pile.

I have attached a pdf file (The Complete Guide to Home Composting) by Joe Lampl from Growing a Greener World. https://joegardener.com/

Filename: Complete-Guide-to-Home-Composting.pdf
Description: Complete guide to home composting by Joe Lampl
File size: 23 megabytes
 
pollinator
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We have used a couple methods.  It partly is influenced by the amount of waste you are trying to take care of.

For kitchen waste, we used to have a worm composting set up. That worked pretty well for small volume, but it didn't handle enough for what we wanted to do.  Then we went to chickens, they are amazing waste disposal units!😀 They also got into the worm bin when the lid wasnt on right and ate the worms...

Outside, most garden waste is piled into the chicken pen.  They like to scratch it around and find tasty critters. A couple times a year, I get back wondrful compost for the garden.  

Between careful eating habits, the dog, chickens and wood stove, we have very little waste in our household.

We have recently been picking up kitchen trash from a housebound couple to take to the local trash station for them. They generate almost a large bag each day.  I realize how far we have come in changing our lives with waste reduction and it is encouraging.
 
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Composting anaerobically (without oxygen) creates methane. Sun-exposed compost creates nitrogen gasses.

By putting a lid on your compost heap (plastic or soil) and by composting properly (30:1 C:N, moist but not soaked) you will reduce the emissions of your pile and retain nutrients that would otherwise enter the atmosphere.

Composting creates recalcitrant soil carbon in forms such as humic acid, which is a very environmentally friendly way of disposing of organic wastes.

Turning a compost frequently will encourage the nitrogen to escape, but you can achieve aeration through pile-structure or embedded pipes. Some people prefer to build cold piles that are primarily digested by fungi and do not get hot enough to volatilize the organic compounds.
 
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I second the chicken recommendations.

In the beginning I kept out moldy foods, onions, raw potato peels,.. but now I just add it all into the chicken pen, my theory is that as long as the chickens have enough food, they will stay away from the food that is dangerous for them. None of my chickens have died so far (knock on wood)

But, if you want to do some extra work or get some heat from your scraps, you can biochar it, here is an example of how to do it:



M
 
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We're planning on going off-grid in Montana, How do you do a compost bed and keep the Bears out of it? And what do you do with your other household trash?
 
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In Bear country, make worm bins for "garbage" (food waste) and put those inside a building that is very well built.
Compost heaps that don't have "food stuffs" included will not be bothered by bears.

Chickens in Bear country, you need to consider that bears will eat chickens and build their area accordingly.
If you have bears you also have cougars (mountain lions).

We compost most of our garden waste, branch clippings from pruning time that aren't used for kindling or tinder. Food scraps go to the chickens and hogs or the worms.
Anything that is burnable that doesn't go as animal food or into compost is burned and the ashes/ char remains are spread on the being developed garden/ orchard space.
We generate 1 13 gal. "trash bag" per 14 days and that goes into a bin at the gas station since it only contains items we can't or won't burn.
 
Greg Banks
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Thank you for your help, We're having a cabin built up in Montana finally, Doing our dreams.
 
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Some of the ways I can think if to recycle kitchen scraps are:

-Using chickens



-Using pigs



-Vermicomposting



-Tucking kitchen scraps under a lot of hay, with Ruth Stout style gardening

 
master steward
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Some of the things that I have been doing that work for me:

All coffee grounds are added to the garden to improve the soil.

Veggie scraps and left over veggies are placed outside away from the house where they can be enjoyed by the wildlife.

I have a brush pile that is where it cannot be seen from my house.  This is where I place meat scraps or leftovers with meat in them.

I could easily dig a hole to bury the scraps though I enjoy sharing with the wildlife more.  After 5 years, this is still not a problem.  Anything not eaten will break down and return to the soil and there is no unsightly mess.
 
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I have two buckets: A coffee grounds bucket, and a food-scraps bucket.

The coffee grounds go into the garden, about once a month.

All foodscraps goes to feed my chickens daily (or near enough) as part of letting them out of the coop to free-range. It is insane that they pick through it and eat nearly all of it, and I have nothing left to compost. Ofcourse, their manure then goes into the garden.

All chicken and duck bones go into a pressure canner (45 mins) or crockpot (48 hours) to make dog food (and broth for humans). Larger bones I bury in the garden or when planting fruit trees.
 
master steward
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I have a three-tier system for food waste.

(1) Chicken bucket: If I can feed it to the chickens, I do. I keep a little bowl for putting in chicken-friendly scraps, or just have my kids throw their apple cores, etc, into the chicken yard. I put down woodchips next to their house where we throw the food, and that they they can mix any food they don't eat into the woodchips, turning it into compost (and reducing smells).

(2) Compost Tumbler: I keep a bowl or other container on the kitchen counter to put fruit/grain/vegetable scraps into. I empty this into my compost tumbler when it's full (about every day). The compost tumbler keeps out vermin/bears, and it's conviently near to the house.

(3) Meat Bucket: In the freezer, I keep a bucket that I put old meat scraps that I can't feed to the chickens or cats (i.e. meat that accidentally went bad in the fridge and ucky meat leftovers and the occasional frozen egg that's no good to eat and old bacon/cooking grease). Once the bucket is full, I pick a fruit tree and somewhere around that tree's dripline, I dig a hole that's about a shovel-head wide and a little over a shovel-head deep. I put the old meat and yogurt and cooking fat in there, cover it with dirt, and then cover with woodchips. Sometimes I'll plant something on top, if I have raspberries or something I need to plant, but usually I don't bother with it. I end up burying meat scraps about 4-6 times a year, and rotate through my fruit trees so they all have gotten meat scraps and I'm not overloading one tree with a crazy amount of scraps.
 
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If one still has a load of compostables after all these suggestions.... you can go into the garden dig a trench and bury the scraps right in there. If you already have active soil the biologics therein will break it down lickty split.
 
pollinator
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I have two routes- used to do a compost pile but had rodent and space problems.

Now, anything that rabbits can eat is given to the rabbits, who give me great garden fertilizer in return.

The little that the rabbits can`t/won`t eat goes into the bokashi bucket (not only tea bags and rotten things but also meat, bones, dead rats, etc). The liquid is drained off and used as fertilizer every few days, and when the bucket is full its contents get buried in a corner of the garden, which then has to lie fallow for a few weeks. The place where I buried the last bucket has a bunch of radishes that is looking really vigorous.
The bucket is small, only smells when you`re draining off the liquid, and can be kept inside to protect it from bears. The rabbits obviously need some kind of protection.
 
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Even easier is to initially create a system that is enclosed, like a barrel that turns. Either with a handle or simply rolling it around. It keeps animals out and composts a lot faster with Minimal effort.
 
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We live in town and don't have animals and started using bokashi a couple of years ago. It works well for us because we can put all our food scraps into it, including meat and fat, it doesn't smell so we can keep the buckets indoors over the frozen winter and then in the spring bury them in the gardens or under leaf piles to help the leaves compost faster. At first I was using the commercial, pricy EM, but now I'm making my own out of yogurt whey and using coffee chaff (free) instead of the traditional rice bran (costly) and it's working fine and finishes much more quickly and easily than our compost piles. Simple and efficient once the buckets are built. The garden waste still goes into a compost pile.
 
Tereza Okava
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Anna Demb wrote:I'm making my own out of yogurt whey and using coffee chaff (free) instead of the traditional rice bran (costly) and it's working fine and finishes much more quickly and easily than our compost piles.


Oooh, I'm glad to hear someone else is doing it this way too! I can't get the EM here, it is what I can make myself, basically, and I used yogurt whey and wood shavings (can get that for free). I don't have anything to compare it to in terms of the "boughten" stuff but it works well enough for me.
 
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Tina Hillel wrote:

Then we went to chickens, they are amazing waste disposal units!😀 They also got into the worm bin when the lid wasnt on right and ate the worms...

Slightly off topic, but chickens are *not* vegetarian, they have a strong insectivore streak. My personal observation is that half the benefit of giving chickens access to an area with food scraps is because the food scraps attract insects. Chickens positively adore slurping up worms, so the vermicomposter was a buffet table!

Jamin Grey wrote:

All chicken and duck bones go into a pressure canner (45 mins) or crockpot (48 hours) to make dog food (and broth for humans).

I do the same. Do you actually let the dogs eat the cooked bones? I've been taught not to, so I'm just wondering. I burn the leftover bones in the wood stove as I don't have a dedicated way to make biochar efficiently at present.
 
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What great information! I have a 1000sf house on a 5000sf lot, so not a lot of room. I am trying to get to as close to zero waste as possible, as well as reduce my dependence on buying compost, so I have been layering techniques for waste control. I have a small roller composter that I use for food scraps until it's full and ready, a small African style keyhole bed with a compost basket in the middle, a small pile where I put yard scraps for drying (then adding to the other compost piles now an then). I kinda rotate piles around my tiny yard for use for different things. My next project is building a small worm bin, as I recently discovered that worm castings work as soil amendment for fruit trees that keep the ants away.

I am considering some sort of animal (quail? rabbits?) that can live in smaller spaces, eat scraps, and provide more compost, but with a full time job adding more animals to this tiny lot seems overwhelming.

My dogs are also great composters! They eat many of our scraps, even fruits and vegetables, and all our dogs have lived healthily into ripe old age.

We have gotten to the point where we have one tiny trash can of garbage to put on the curb every other week, and the majority of our waste is beer cans and bottles in the bin. I guess it's time to start brewing beer.
 
Tereza Okava
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it is always time to start brewing beer! (and kombucha, and vinegar)
 
pollinator
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Lots of great options presented here so far!  But I am surprised that nobody has yet mentioned feeding kitchen scraps into a Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) Digester.  Together with farming earth worms and meal worms, this is one of the major popular techniques for processing organic waste via invertebrates.

As many commenting on this topic surely already know, BSFL are the maggots of a certain species of fly we have here in North America (maybe elsewhere, too, I don't know).  The adult flies are very distinctive looking and easy to tell apart from house flies.  BSFL tend to dominate once well established, and will actively suppress housefly maggots in their bins.  The adult soldier flies also have no mouth parts - like adult cicadas, they're purpose is simply to mate quickly, lay eggs, and then die - so they won't particularly be hanging around your kitchen or picnic making themselves a nuisance.

BSFL are large and meaty, with high fat and protein content, and make excellent fodder for any omnivorous livestock (chicken, ducks, pigs, etc.).  There was a professor at my local university trying to process the fat from BSFL for use as a bio-fuel (don't know how that research turned out).

To the best of my knowledge, when compared to vermicomposting set ups - i.e. red wriggler earth worm bins, which seems to be the other major option discussed in this thread so far - these are the pros/cons of each method.  I plan to eventually pursue both on my own homestead!

1.  Depending on how carefully you set them up, maintain them, and choose what scraps to feed into them, either system could end up being smelly.  Or end up being benign enough to keep inside (i.e. in a garage or basement).

2.  BSFL are voracious.  They consume large amounts of food.  They grow and reproduce more quickly than red wriggler worms.  So a BSFL digester of equal volume should consume more weight of waste than a vermicomposter.  This could either be a boon if one has huge volumes of scraps to dispose of, or a source of stress if one has to import waste material in order to keep the BSFL colony going.

3.  Being maggots, BSFL will eat just about anything.  In particular, they will thrive on animal scraps (meat, dairy, fats, etc.) that most people avoid adding to either their worm bins or compost piles.

4.  A worm bin produces multiple potential yields: worm castings for soil improvement, plus worms themselves for feeding to animals or for selling as fishing bait.  A BSFL digester produces BSFL for animal feed, and that's mostly it.  There are also, of course, leachate and solid residue from a BSFL digester that are valuable organic matter for the garden or compost pile, but I gather that these are more of a minor bi-product; nobody ever talks much about the value or quantity of those.

5.  Vermicomposting bins come with the chore of occasionally separating the worms and worm casting for use, which can take a little bit of labor (though I saw someone once who had built an ingenious motorized sifter to do this quickly for them!).  A BSFL digester is set up so that the BSFL collect themselves in a harvest container when "ripe" for effortless access by you or your birds.

6.  Both worm bins and BSFL digesters are very simple and inexpensive to build, but there are also a number of commercial examples of both that you can buy.

On a tangential side note, I object to the oft-repeated wisdom that you "can't" dispose of animal products in a regular compost pile.  Baloney!  Of course you can compost animal products.  Anything organic can be composted.  Just know that doing so could lead to undesirable side-effects, such as unpleasant smells, yucky consistency while composting, attracting vermin, etc.
 
master pollinator
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Our kitchen waste goes in the composter, which was almost full this past fall, so I had to resort to other means.

We have a Flemish Giant named Mizzou, and Mizzou's spent litter, consisting of wads of recycled paper and her poops and urine, make up a huge part of the contributions. I was honestly worried about what we would do.

So I started spreading my rabbit bedding and kitchen waste, consisting largely of coffee grounds and whatever the Mizzou won't eat, right atop the soon-to-be-frozen raised bed I have outside, where I had, as recently as last season, introduced more red wigglers, along with the composter itself.

I did that all winter, removing snow, adding my weekly contributions, and covering it back up with snow.

So I was worried about what I would find this spring, and would it even thaw out before summer time comes, with all that intermixed paper bedding and ice.

What I found out was that, in the composter and the raised bed, the worms not only survived the winter, which I was told they most certainly wouldn't, but they were able to get a head-start on everything. Even with some of the outer perimeter frozen, I was able to sink my shovel effortlessly past the shoulders and halfway up the handle in mostly new soil, with just a tiny layer of bedding and stuff on top.

So rabbits work, though they're pickier than chickens, from what I gather.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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Matthew has a good point, though red wigglers love to eat the solids left behind by BSFLs, in my experience. The worms just don't like the fresh enzymatic residues left by the BSFLs, so it's necessary to keep them apart and take BSFL poop from which the BSFLs have already moved.

-CK
 
Matthew Nistico
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Kali Gardener wrote:...I have a small roller composter that I use for food scraps until it's full and ready, a small African style keyhole bed with a compost basket in the middle, a small pile where I put yard scraps for drying (then adding to the other compost piles now an then). I kinda rotate piles around my tiny yard for use for different things. My next project is building a small worm bin, as I recently discovered that worm castings work as soil amendment for fruit trees that keep the ants away.


These are all admirable systems you are implementing.  But look at the info someone posted above about Ruth Stout-style gardening.  I am a big advocate of her methods, and don't maintain a compost pile anymore .

When people meet me and learn I'm all about permaculture and homesteading and regenerative ag, they are surprised to hear me say "I don't believe in composting!"  To be fair, I phrase it in just that way for the shock value ; )  But it is true: I believe in mulching.  Advocates of traditional compost believe in shoveling piles around.  To each their own, but it sounds like a lot of work to me.

The design of the roller composter you use is meant to substitute for the need to shovel piles, so that's a huge improvement.  If relying on some smaller amount of your own labor in order to speed up the process and produce compost faster is worth it to you, then good compromise.  I still prefer the less-work/more-patience approach of mulching.

I mulch thick with chop-and-drop weeds in place, old straw, wood chips, kitchen scraps... anything and everything I can easily get my hands on.  That is how nature does it, as evidenced by any meadow or forest floor you've ever seen: continual deposit of crude organic waste from the top down, and gradual soil production by fungi and invertebrates from the bottom down.  Not a zero-labor system for me, but as close as I can get to one.  In the future, I will also mulch with finished compost from worm bins and no-tend humanure buckets (i.e. left to finish in the buckets and not touched until ready to apply to the garden) that I haven't yet set up.  In those cases animals or time will still be doing most of the hard work for me, so it comports to the same philosophy.

I garden from a wheelchair now, and I've discovered that when you are paying someone else for most of your heavy labor, you start to measure how labor-intensive each method is very carefully.

I am glad that you mentioned African-style keyhole raised beds.  That is also an excellent method for composting-in-place!  I like to think of it as a form of outside worm bin, as surely the central basket becomes a haven for all manner of worms.  I suppose you could seed the basket with red wrigglers, if you weren't patient enough for them to find their way there in their own time.

Similarly, if you have large amounts of kitchen/garden waste to dispose of, and for some reason you preferred not to build a raised bed, you could dig vermicomposting trenches adjacent to your in-ground beds.  Bentley Christie from redwormcomposting.com recently gave an excellent video presentation on this technique as part of the Home Grown Food Summit (March 2019).  If you scroll through the blog posts on his site, you can gather some info on building worm trenches.

If you have only a small volume of kitchen scraps, or if you prefer the convenience of disposing of them in your garage, then a conventional worm bin is indeed a good option.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Chris Kott wrote:Matthew has a good point, though red wigglers love to eat the solids left behind by BSFLs, in my experience. The worms just don't like the fresh enzymatic residues left by the BSFLs, so it's necessary to keep them apart and take BSFL poop from which the BSFLs have already moved.



Really?!  Excellent advice, I will have to try that when the time comes.  Feeding the residue from one system into the other sounds like an ideal set up.
 
Chris Kott
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I think so too. The more species involved in the biological recycling program, the safer, in terms of pathogenicity.

-CK
 
Kali Hermitage
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Matthew Nistico wrote:

Kali Gardener wrote:...I have a small roller composter that I use for food scraps until it's full and ready, a small African style keyhole bed with a compost basket in the middle, a small pile where I put yard scraps for drying (then adding to the other compost piles now an then). I kinda rotate piles around my tiny yard for use for different things. My next project is building a small worm bin, as I recently discovered that worm castings work as soil amendment for fruit trees that keep the ants away.


These are all admirable systems you are implementing.  But look at the info someone posted above about Ruth Stout-style gardening.  I am a big advocate of her methods, and don't maintain a compost pile anymore

I mulch thick with chop-and-drop weeds in place, old straw, wood chips, kitchen scraps... anything and everything I can easily get my hands on.



Thanks for the feedback Matthew! I should have added that I do "chop and drop" some things, especially the mint, comfrey, and other weeds and plants. The bigger pieces I put in piles.

As far as food scraps, since I have a very small backyard with 3 dogs and the typical rats that come with an urban/suburban neighborhood, I have to watch where I put them, hence the keyhole bed and roller composter. If I put it where the dogs can get it, they roll in it and eat it. If I put it where they can't get it, the rats invade.

BTW the basket in the keyhole bed was absolutely chock full of worms within a couple weeks of adding waste. I checked on them today and they managed to survive our "winter" (where we got tons and tons of rain). Figuring out how to deal with waste when you have very little land and very close neighbors is a fun challenge though.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Kali Gardener wrote:BTW the basket in the keyhole bed was absolutely chock full of worms within a couple weeks of adding waste. I checked on them today and they managed to survive our "winter" (where we got tons and tons of rain). Figuring out how to deal with waste when you have very little land and very close neighbors is a fun challenge though.


Excellent.  I am wondering if you cover over the top of the basket, or leave it open to the sun and the rain?  Care to post a photo of your keyhole bed?  : )
 
Kali Hermitage
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Matthew Nistico wrote:

Kali Gardener wrote:BTW the basket in the keyhole bed was absolutely chock full of worms within a couple weeks of adding waste. I checked on them today and they managed to survive our "winter" (where we got tons and tons of rain). Figuring out how to deal with waste when you have very little land and very close neighbors is a fun challenge though.


Excellent.  I am wondering if you cover over the top of the basket, or leave it open to the sun and the rain?  Care to post a photo of your keyhole bed?  : )



I'm new to this forum, can you see this picture? I need to cover it but it's not covered yet. Luckily I added a lot of straw to the top and the worms are fine. In the summer it's fine with layers of waste/straw and throwing some water on it now and again.

This pic was when I seeded it with broccoli last year. I'm planting tomatoes in it this week for the summer.
keyhole.png
[Thumbnail for keyhole.png]
 
Matthew Nistico
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Kali Gardener wrote:I am considering some sort of animal (quail? rabbits?) that can live in smaller spaces, eat scraps, and provide more compost, but with a full time job adding more animals to this tiny lot seems overwhelming.


You're on the right track: rabbits and quail are definitely the tried-and-true choices for small-scale, indoor livestock.  Both have been breed for hundreds of generations to thrive in cages.

I would bet that even with your small land you could grow enough feed to largely supply their needs without too much effort.  A lot of conventional books will tell you that you can't raise domestic rabbits on greens alone, or even on a majority-greens diet.  Apparently, according to them, the species evolved to eat commercial alfalfa pellets.  Obviously this is total nonsense, and I personally know or have heard of several people raising rabbits largely or even entirely on wild forage.  I can only guess that the difference is that, if you ween a rabbit on pellets, then perhaps its gut doesn't develop the full capacity to live off of greenery (?)

I plan on maintaining  in my garage small breeding populations of both domestic rabbits and Japanese quail (sometimes referred to as "coturnix quail," which is both accurate and simultaneously confusing: coturnix is the name of the whole genus of Old World quails).  Listen to this episode of The Survival Podcast and I guarantee your enthusiasm for raising domestic quail will be increased to fever pitch: http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/quail-for-eggs-and-meat.  This article also has a good, brief overview of domestic quail: https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/coturnix-quail-zmaz81sozraw.

Also, I have read some fascinating articles about recent research verifying that you can raise meal worms by feeding them styrofoam.  Here is a good example: http://livingearthsystems.com/mealworms-compost-styrofoam/.  Another great way to divert resources from your own waste stream!  I plan to try this out for sure, though I will give my meal worms a partial styrofoam diet augmented with conventional foodstuffs.  The worms can then be fed to the quail.

I note that there are discussions here on permies questioning whether it is safe to include styrofoam-fed meal worms into your own food chain.  While I eagerly await more research results exploring this concern thoroughly, I haven't seen any objections expressed so far that are actually based on any solid evidence, or even just on what strikes me as a reasonable logical conjecture.
 
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