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Do Composting Worms Eliminate Greenhouse Gases?
By now, you’ve probably heard about all of the benefits that come with worm composting. Black soldier fly larvae are incredible bugs, capable of turning your kitchen scraps into liquid gold to help your garden grow big and strong. But did you know that worm composting also reduces greenhouse gas emissions?
In this article, I'll talk about all of the positive environmental impacts of worm composting. Because worms not only help you live better, the help the planet live better, too.
Small-scale Circular Agriculture
Black soldier flies reduce your "input" into the process of producing food. This is called "circular agriculture," an idea centered on turning your food production and consumption into a complete circle. In an efficient system, nothing is wasted, and the production of by-products is reduced.
Circular agriculture is about making use of as much "waste" as possible. So rather than throwing more away, you re-introduce it - or in this case, use bugs to turn it into something useful, like fertilizer. Rather than purchasing and bringing livestock feed in from outside, you're producing it yourself. This creates a closed loop that's much cleaner than consuming goods and producing waste.
And you don't have to be a large-scale farm to do circular agriculture, either! The magic of black soldier flies is that they empower people at all levels of self-sufficiency to produce more of their own food and reduce their waste, as well as their consumption of consumer goods. So whether you live in an apartment with a balcony or on ten acres of land, you can have a positive impact.
Circular agriculture cuts down massively on everything you can think of as "bad for the environment." From greenhouse gas emissions to fossil fuel burning to water usage to chemical pollutants in topsoil and waterways. Here's the nitty gritty on how it works.
The First “R” (Reducing Waste)
In case you've forgotten, the three "R's" of sustainability are:
And they go in that order for a reason. The most important thing we can do to help the planet is to reduce our production of waste and pollutants.
Why? Well, for one thing, landfills produce tons of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. As much as 20% of all human methane emissions come directly from landfills.
Black soldier flies reduce how much of your waste ends up in a landfill, because they can process not only vegetable matter, but meat and dairy products, too. They can even turn manure into viable livestock feed. So rather than rotting and producing harmful methane in a landfill, your kitchen scraps are safely converted into fertilizer.
Promoting Self-sufficient Produce
Once you have your homemade organic fertilizer, you can use it to enrich your soil and grow your own food. This seems small, but it has some very far-reaching impacts.
When you grow your own crops, you're reducing fossil fuels burnt (because your food doesn't have to be shipped from around the country, or even the world), saving water, and reducing the impacts of harmful insecticides and synthetic fertilizers on topsoil.
Reducing Consumption, Reducing Impacts
Possibly the best part of worm composting is having bucketfuls of bugs to feed your animals! These little composting grubs are healthy and nutritious for animals and people alike!
In producing your own feed, you're further reducing your consumption of consumer goods. Livestock feed contains lots of synthetic chemicals and highly-processed ingredients. These inorganic ingredients have lots of by-products, including greenhouse gases.
Furthermore, producing your own goods rather than buying them always reduces emissions. Much like growing your own food rather than buying it, you're cutting down on fossil fuels burnt in shipping and transport.
Livestock feed is primarily made of organic ingredients like barley and wheat. But even though these are fairly clean ingredients, these crops drink up tons of water. When you produce your own feed in the form of black soldier fly larvae, you consume no more than the water in your kitchen scraps.
Take It A Step Further!
If all of these benefits aren't enough for you, black soldier flies can reduce your carbon footprint even more. How? By replacing your normal source of protein with bugs!
Black soldier fly larvae are highly nutritious, rich in protein, and completely safe to eat. Their digestive processes destroy bacteria so efficiently that even their castings (waste) are bacteria-free!
As far as how to eat them goes, the possibilities are endless. Some people just eat them plain. You can fry them up in oil and eat them as a crunchy, salty snack. Or, cook them as a replacement protein in any other protein-heavy dish. You can even dry them out, grind them into flour, and turn them into protein-rich bread!
Factory farming and the livestock industry have long been known to be a major producer of greenhouse gases, particularly methane (as much as 14% of human-produced methane). By replacing conventional meat with healthy insect protein, you drastically reduce your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. You body will thank you, the Earth will thank you, and future generations will thank you for your thoughtfulness.