Plastics in the Worm Composting System

After a few months of not adding substantial amounts of material to my Worm Inn (I slow down the feeding to my worms in the warmer months), I decided to take it outside and poke around in the castings.

There was a good six inches of beautiful, crumbly castings…great stuff!

However, there was also several pieces of plastic film…huh?

Then I remembered, a few months ago I placed some waxed paper, an ice cream carton, and a chinese food container (without the metal handle)…and that’s what’s left!  I don’t recommend adding this kind of stuff to a worm composting system, but my curiosity got the better of me.

What’s sad is that a large portion of single use paper products have plastic liners embedded in them to keep the contents from leaking out all over the place.  I can’t imagine that plastic liners are a favorite of worms…so I think going forward I’m going to keep all paper products other than cardboard and (dull) shredded paper out of the system.

Recognize the item in the lower left?  Yep, that’s a tea bag.

It looks like the worms ate the contents, but the bag must be synthetic.  There’s definitely some fully compostable tea bags out there…look for those.  I guess the string isn’t appealing, either!  Good thing I took the staple out.

2 thoughts on “Plastics in the Worm Composting System”

  1. tylerw, do not worry about these items. Worms happily eat around things they can’t eat, like plastic film, and digest the paper, and leave the uncompostable stuff, like some teabags, clean to pick out and throw away to landfill. So, continue to put these items in your worm bin, let the worms do the work, and you pull out the plastic! Composting, and worm composting are very adaptable, and can cope with all sorts of situations. For instance, there’s a myth about citrus and onion ‘not being able to be worm composted’. This is quite frankly nonsense, I’ve been worm composting these sort of materials for years and years. Just don’t put thick layers in, of anything!
    Nice website, by the way. I’m one of the UK’s best known composters, and I’ll make this site a ‘favourite’. I look forward to reading new posts.

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I totally agree- I made a video specifically to dispel the myth that you can’t compost citrus… even people that never composted before ask me that question all the time, probably more than anything else.

      Most stuff in moderation is totally fine for composting.

      I have no problem pulling out the plastics, and that’s exactly what I do.

      I like to put in questionable items and then check them out a few months later and see what’s left behind… plastic is in practically everything these days…

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