No landfills for MSW - put a verminimine under the window

    For more than a year, fresh greens have been grown on my balcony automatically. It simply and cool helps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the apartment, while saving the budget. But we need to take care not only of ourselves, but also of the environment, which no less affects our well-being and health (hello, “Kuchino”).

    The only trouble is that my rational brain can not accept abstract ideas of separate garbage collection and the distant prospects of environmental disaster. If you do this, then you need at least some obvious benefit ...

    For myself, I found the answer at the intersection of agricultural technologies, recycling, healthy food and Arduino.

    I am pleased to share this unique experience with all balcony farmers. But all in order.

    First you need to understand a simple thing - all our garbage is divided into two parts: recyclable (about 45%) and non-recyclable. Thus, there are exactly two escape strategies from a situation that is perfectly exaggerated in the WALL-E animation tape.

    The first strategy is to reduce the percentage of unprocessed waste. This is the most difficult way, in the sense that there is no economy, only psychology. About this some other time.

    The second strategy is to increase the volume of recycling. Everything is simple here: instead of dumping secondary resources at the MSW landfills, they need to be processed into useful things. Then there is the economy, and that is valuable for the end user, then you can earn!

    Let's understand

    Somewhere in the subconscious mind, the reader heard the rustle of bills ... Indeed, there are many business plans on the network for processing plastic and similar materials. However, before spending the last savings on a mini-processing plant, you need to take into account a number of important points.

    For processing requires special and bulky equipment, a lot of water and electricity. This is not something that is not home, but not even a garage story. But the most unpleasant thing is that in order for all this to bring profit, we need significant volumes of supply of recyclable materials, continuous (in three shifts) production, personnel and everything that follows from here. All of these businesses operate mainly with major suppliers of recyclables, not shops, catering, manufacturing, etc.

    This is clearly not a DIY story, but the role of a bystander does not suit me at all. Is it really impossible to get any benefit from your recyclable garbage?


    So, traditionally separate garbage collection involves five baskets: paper, plastic, glass, metal, and all steel. Many complain, they say, when we put the containers for separate collection of garbage, people live in Europe.

    And instead of crushing the water in a mortar and putting a valuable resource into multi-colored containers, you can sort it yourself and accumulate it at home, so that you can return it for recycling and get money for it.

    Of course, this is a little money, but still it is the income from your garbage, which you usually just throw away or give away to someone for nothing! Please note that space is required to store paper, cardboard and bottles (garage, common corridor, balcony). Once a quarter it will need to be taken out for recycling independently. It's all individually, consider yourself whether this undertaking will pay for itself.

    And where is agrotechnology?

    Yes, yes, this is not the end of the story. Take a closer look at the contents of your trash can. In addition to the remaining non-recyclable debris, there is something else ... for example, leftover food and other organic waste, which basically create the indescribable flavor of solid waste landfills.

    Remember, in American horror films, there is a classic scene when a hand is thrust into a sink and a fountain of blood gushes from there? This is how they solve the issue of organic waste - a chopper is installed in the sink drain, which then flushes the organic matter down the drain. Civilization, however. Well, they and the average salary is much higher than ours, they are allowed ... It is not our way.

    But agrotechnologies applied to organic waste allow for nothing to get what hydroponics and gardeners pay a lot of money for - fertilizers. The device called “vermicomposter” was a real revelation for me, I didn’t think that someone could do this at home! And it turned out to be the very missing link, which allowed me to put the coveted Recycling triangle on my organic waste.

    Worms save Moscow from Kuchino-Stinker

    So, the technology is simple as all ingenious.

    1. We take a shovel and dig in the garden / in the forest / from a neighbor of ordinary earthworms and together with the earth we place them in a box. Pieces 30 on one box should be enough.
    2. All vegetable organic matter that remains after cooking food is put in a chopper (not the one that Americans have, but the one in which you can prick ice, shred vegetables, etc.). Free bonus - no unpleasant smell from the trash can.
    3. Once a day or two, we grind up organic matter, dig a hole in the ground, lay there food for worms, sprinkle it with earth.
    4. In the second half of the box plant greens. The automatic garden takes care of the greenery, fix it and water it.
    5. Eat grown greens and proceed to step 3.

    The trick is that the worms completely process the organic matter into biohumus and loosen the earth, supplying our greenery with healthy trace elements. You will be surprised at what you will see at the place of the last fossa, where the crushed organic matter was buried - there will be just earth there!

    This is what my verminiminma looks like.

    Spouse asked to sew a few bags for separate collection and temporary storage of paper, bags, metal and plastic covers. In my opinion, a great alternative to separate containers, which often do not fit in a standard kitchen, also costs a lot of money.

    The automatic garden collected according to this instruction + made minor changes there.

    My garden is managed by a “smart home” based on Orange Pi and Home Assistant. He turns on the light at 8:00 and turns off at 20:00, while counting electricity consumption. When the soil moisture level drops below 65% turn on the pumps and water the beds. If necessary, you can intervene and manage manually using a mobile.

    They say that at home the worms live long and multiply quickly, well, we'll see. They are not recommended to be fed with animal proteins, but only with plant organic matter. This is the main weakness of the Vermicomposter, but there is no alternative yet. There is still such a thing as a kitchen composter (without worms), it is “omnivorous,” but with it it is not clear how easy it is to transfer the humus to a garden bed already planted with greenery (waiting for your ideas!).

    They also say that ordinary earthworms are not the most voracious eaters - there are better kinds for this purpose. But I have enough rain.

    Cost of equipment
    If you want to make your region a bit cleaner this way, you will need to buy:

    Shelving - 700 p.
    Box 2pcs. - 400 p.
    LED matrix 20W 4pcs. - 800 p.
    Electronics - 900 p. (this is only in case, like me, you are too lazy to turn the light on and off and water it yourself)
    Fabric - 300 rubles.

    Total ~ 3000 rub. for the farm of fresh greens, with the functions of sorting garbage and processing of organic matter.

    Separately, I want to stay on the lighting. It is very important to create sufficient illumination of the plants so that it is not the leaves that grow, but the normal size and goodness of the leaves.

    Professionals dosachivayut seedlings red-blue lamps. This increases the efficiency of energy consumption. But at home, purple is no good - it distorts color perception very much, is unusual and causes discomfort. Moreover, such lamps are expensive compared to conventional LED-matrices. On personal experience, I was convinced that for such a task it creates only problems, and there is practically no benefit.

    Two 20-wadded LED luminaires create on the surface of the earth in a box (at a distance of 30 cm from the bottom of the shelf shelf) illumination from 9000 to 13000 lux (the value varies along the box). For comparison: the recommended illumination in greenhouses is 10,000 - 12,000 lux; box illumination on a clear sunny day with direct rays of the sun (through glass, November) 11,500 lux. So for a long box you will need three lamps, for my it turned out to be enough two.

    I anticipate your questions: no, it does not stink and do not creep out. On the contrary, the smell will remind you of staying in a damp forest.

    I also recommend to look at the project of extruder for melting plastics at home. I'm thinking about expanding the spectrum of recyclable waste.

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