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omposting using a worm bin is a great way to recycle food wastes like
coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetable peels, fruit rinds and grains. By For more information Building & using a
about composting in
letting worms eat your food wastes, you’ll end
up with one of the best soil amendments
available – worm castings.
Whatcom County, contact
any one of the following
Composting using
a worm bin
There are several low-cost worm bins
WSU/Whatcom County
you can use to compost your food wastes.
Cooperative Extension
A worm bin can be made out of a dark- Getting your worm
colored plastic bin or wooden box. Or, Master Recyclers/Composters Program
bin going (360) 676-6736 or 398-1310 ext. 56736
test your carpentry skills and build your
own bin using the plans in this brochure. The first thing you need to do after
If you use a recycled bin or box, make setting up your worm bin is to fill it with homehort/compost/composting.htm
sure it didn’t previously contain toxic shredded and moistened newspaper,
materials. Also - remember that any worm cardboard, peat moss or brown leaves.
Whatcom County
bin must have drainage holes in the Then scatter your worms on top and cover
Recycling Hotline
bottom. If you’re using a plastic bin, drill them with some of the “bedding.”
(360) 676-5723 or 384-8040
air holes in the lid. As you generate food wastes, bury them
in the bedding and let the worms go to
work. Before you know it, they will have
turned it all into high-quality compost,
DO FEED THEM: DON’T FEED THEM: suitable for use on houseplants, seedlings
Vegetable scraps Meat or fish or garden beds.
Whatcom County
Fruit rinds & peels Dairy products Every six months or so compost should
be moved to one side of the bin and new
Solid Waste Division Build your own
Coffee grounds (cheese, etc.)
& filters Butter or cooking oils bedding added to the empty half. At this
(360) 676-7695 or 380-8102 worm bin
Tea grounds & bags Oily foods point, bury food wastes in the new
Breads & other grains Pet wastes bedding only. Within a couple months, Choose from two
most of the worms will have migrated different styles
over to the new bedding. The finished
Where to find worms? compost can then be harvested. New
A starter batch of red worms can be dug bedding can be added to the empty half
Using your worm bin
out of a friend’s worm bin or from a and the whole process started all over ★ You may obtain this information in alternate formats
manure or compost pile. You can also again! including Braille, large print, and audio tape by
purchase red worms by contacting the contacting the Whatcom County Solid Waste Division
at 676-7695 or 380-8102; please allow up to 14 days
WSU/Whatcom County Cooperative For more information on worm for transcription. Individuals with hearing impairments
Extension Master Recyclers/Composters composting, see Mary Appelhof’s book, can reach the County through the Washington Relay
Service, 1-800-833-6388.
program at (360) 676-6736 or 398-1310, Worms Eat My Garbage (available at Parts of this brochure were orginally developed by Seattle Tilth.
ext. 56736. most libraries or your local bookstore).
Printed on recycled paper 1999
Building A Worm Directions for Building Your Worm Composting Bin
Composting Bin
FIG. A 24" 24" 23" 24" 20"

This worm composting bin 16" END END

can be built for about $25
using new wood and FIG. D
hardware. We recommend 16" BASE TOP 42"
treated wood since it increases 42"
the longevity of the bin, but 2x4 FRAME
any wood can be used. 16" SIDE WITH
Features 4'x8' SHEET OF 1/2" PLYWOOD

• Tight-fitting lid keeps moisture in –

pests out. FIG. C
• Single unit – no parts to misplace FIG. B

20" 23"
Materials List DRAWINGS
• 1 – 4’ x 8’ sheet, treated 1/2” plywood ARE NOT
• 1 – 12’ utility-grade 2x4, treated TO SCALE FIG. E
• 1 – 16’ utility-grade 2x4, treated
• 2 lbs. 6d galvanized nails
• 1/2 lb. 16d galvanized nails Construction Details which will be used to build the lid. Place Lay these pieces in a rectangle with the
• 2 – 3” door hinges with screws one piece under each end of each side short pieces inside as indicated (see FIG.
Measure and cut the plywood. (see FIG. A).
• Wood Glue panel so that each 2x4 is flush with the D). The plywood top should be inset from
• Optional: Clear polyurethane, varnish To make the base: top and side edges of the plywood. Nail the edges of the 2x4’s by 1-1/2” all the
or paint Cut the 12’ 2x4 into five pieces: the boards in place. Nail the side pieces way around (see FIG. E). Nail the plywood
2 pieces, each 39” long onto the base frame. Nail the ends onto onto the 2x4’s securely.
Tool List 2 pieces, each 23” long the base and sides. Place the hinges on the back side of the
1 piece 20” long box at both ends on the 2x4’s, and on the
• Tape Measure Completing the bin:
under side of the 2x4 lid frame so that the
• Saw Horses Nail the 2x4‘s together on edge at each To reinforce the box, nail at least every
lid will stand upright when opened.
• Long Straight Edge or Chalk Snap Line joint with two 16d nails (see FIG. B). 3” wherever plywood and 2x4’s meet.
• Skill Saw or Rip Hand Saw Then nail the plywood base piece (23” x Drill 12 - 1/2” holes through the bottom
• Hammer 42”) onto the 2x4 frame using 6d nails. of the box for drainage.
Notches for handholds can be cut in the
• Screwdriver To build the lid: Your worm bin is ready for composting.
• Drill with 1/2” bit end base boards (see FIG. C).
Cut four pieces from the remaining 12’ To further protect it, you may coat your
• Safety Gear (gloves, safety glasses, Building the bin sides: 2x4: bin with varnish, clear polyurethane or
hearing protection) Cut the 16’ 2x4 into four pieces, each 2 pieces, each 45” long paint.
one foot long. This will leave a 12’ piece 2 pieces, each 20” long