Image of worms eating compost

New waste management team at Dawson

A waste management team consisting of worms will begin working at Dawson this spring thanks to a grant from Colleges and Institutes Canada. Their task is simple: consume the organic waste we throw into our hallway sorting stations and transform it into nutrient-rich fertilizer for our gardens.

The initial group will be about 30,000 red wriggler composting worms and is expected to grow into a team of about 300,000 worms by August-September.

“This Nature-based solution is a beautiful cycle of using waste to feed living creatures and produce fertilizer that is put back into use on our landscape,” said Chris Adam of Dawson’s Sustainability Office. This is Dawson’s second national demonstration project within a year and will further bring down our GHG emissions.

Coming this spring

The Sustainability Office will receive worms and a vermicomposter unit this spring, which will be installed on a site outdoors still to be determined. It is expected to be operational by mid-June. The worms will be housed in a prototype sealed unit with sensors that relay internal conditions to a cell phone for easy monitoring.

When everything is running during the semester, it is expected that the vermicomposter will process 1.1 to 1.2 metric tonnes every week. The worm castings will be used in our gardens as a powerful fertilizer and whatever is left over will be dried and sold to the Dawson community for their own gardens.

Managing the vermicomposter will be a year-round student volunteer project with oversight by the Sustainability Office.

Last Modified: May 3, 2023