Got Waste? Get Worms! Composting at Home

Make for a more sustainable holiday season by composting.

Here are some tips to reducing food waste this Thanksgiving and beyond:

  1. Coordinate with family and friends to avoid excess foodCreate a detailed shopping list based on the number of guests to avoid unnecessary purchases. Estimate food quantities accurately to prevent overbuying.

  2. Find recipes with overlapping ingredientsTransform stuffing into stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer or use it in a frittata or breakfast hash the next morning. Roasted vegetables can be repurposed in a frittata, added to grain bowls, or turned into a vegetable soup.

  3. Take Inventory of Fridge/PantryFood waste happens when we forget the foods we already have.

  4. Shop the Bulk BinsBuy only as much as you need (less packaging waste).

  5. Find Creative Ways to Use Leftovers 

    1. Using this site, you can choose any food scrap and find a unique, fulfilling recipe to upcycle your ingredients!

    2. Transform turkey scraps into sandwiches, use vegetable peels for homemade stocks, and incorporate excess cranberries into sauces or desserts.

    3. Save your veggie scraps for soup stocks (freezer bag, vegetable broths)

    4. Add leftover herbs to make a condiment

    5. Stale bread → croutons/bread crumbs

    6. Reconsider peeling the carrots/potatoes (skins are healthy and delicious)

    7. Encourage guests to take home leftovers in reusable containers, ensuring that excess food is enjoyed and not wasted.

  6. Keep Your Produce Fresher Longer

  7. Be Careful of Ethylene Gas 

    1. Ethylene is a gaseous ripening agent released by most fruits and some vegetables.

    2. High ethylene producers include apples, apricots, avocados, cantaloupes, nectarines, papayas and peaches.

    3. Carrots, broccoli, lettuce, herbs are most sensitive. 

  8. Put an “Eat First” Bin in the Fridge. Storage bin at eye-level, fill it up with foods that will expire first.

  9. Regrow Your Food ScrapsGarlic, potatoes, lettuce, basil, mint, rosemary, celery, etc. 


Composting is the act of turning organic waste, which includes food scraps and yard and landscaping trimmings into a soil-like product that can be used to aid plant growth and development. It is a great way to start diverting waste from landfills, while simultaneously creating healthy, rich soil matter for your garden or house plants. One of my favorite ways to compost is vermicomposting, otherwise known as worm composting. The compost produced by red wiggler worms is rich in essential nutrients, microorganisms, and enzymes, enhancing soil fertility and structure. And, best of all, worms consume just about everything from kitchen scraps to shredded paper, cardboard, and yard waste, turning them into valuable compost instead of being discarded. I have loved vermicomposting as it is a convenient way to dispose of my cooking scraps, and it is so easy to take care of! 

How to Set Up Your At-Home Worm Bin:


  • 2 5 gallon Home Depot Paint Bins ($4.48 per bin)

  • 1 5 gallon lid ($2.28 per lid)

  • Newspaper shreddings/cardboard

  • A Drill and a ⅛ drill bit

  • Food scraps

  • Water

  • A good amount (about 1 lb) of red wiggler worms (can usually be found at any garden or nursery site)


  1. In one bin, drill holes about every 3 inches on all four sides and the bottom of the bin. Drill 10-20 holes in the lid.

  2. Place the top bin inside the bottom bin and put the lid on.

  3. Line the bottom half of the bucket with cardboard to catch worms or food scraps that might fall through.

  4. Fill the bin about ¼ of the way with fluffed shredded newspaper.

  5. Add the food waste on top (there should be about 1 lb of food waste/worms to start

  6. Add another layer of shredded newspaper. Make sure it is fluffed, not compacted.

  7. If possible, cover the bin and allow it to sit for a day or two. Check the bin for adequate moisture levels when adding the worms. The bin should be about as moist as a wrung out sponge. Add water as needed.

  8. Pull back the top layer of paper and add the worms. Secure bucket lid. 

What Do Worms Like to Eat: 

  • Fruits (not acidic, spicy, or citrus)

  • Vegetables (not acidic or spicy)

  • Shredded newspaper

  • Cardboard

  • Coffee grounds (especially when it is cold outside)

  • Egg shells (gives them lots of calcium)

  • Legumes (small amounts, gives them lots of nitrogen)

Worms Dislike:

  • Citrus

  • Garlic

  • Onions

  • Peppers

  • Animal Products

  • Grains and Bread

  • Oil 

  • Sauces

How to Feed Your Worms:

  1. Chop all food into small pieces with a knife or food processor 

  2. Open the bin and check for any irregularities 

  3. Pour the food into the bin and spread evenly over bin contents

  4. Spread the newspaper/paper evenly over the food

  5. Close the bin!

  6. Worms hate light, so remember to keep the bin closed!

How you can help, right now