Vermicomposting for institutions

Morgan, Ian (2014) Vermicomposting for institutions. BEng dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    When considered from an institutional perspective, (organic) solid waste management has negative economic and environmental impacts. Such waste is currently processed via methods that result in it being a burden to the environment. With vast quantities of organic biodegradable waste currently being unnecessarily sent to landfills; vermicomposting presents an alternative solution that can reduce these impacts by diverting the waste from conventional waste channels.
    The study focused on the remediation of organic food waste and spent coffee grounds from a medium sized institution (University of Portsmouth) through the biodegradation process of vermicomposting. Two vermi-reactors were constructed to process waste resulting from the Dennis Sciama Café Hub. The feedstock was trialled in two varying ratios - 7:3 and 1:1 (organic waste:coffee grounds).
    The feedstocks were applied to the reactors on a weekly basis and each reactor was analysed in terms of performance. By monitoring pH, temperature and moisture content it could be seen that the reactors were functioning as intended. On completion of the waste treatment research, the reactors were shown to be capable of processing the 2.5 kg of waste applied over the duration. This was converted at an overall efficiency of over 65% - resulting in 1.69 kg of vermicasts. The vermicasts produced from the process were shown to be a nutrient enriched product that would be beneficial as a plant or vegetable growing media amendment. The success of the reactors was further demonstrated by the significant increase in the juvenile earthworm population.
    The research demonstrated that it is possible to reclaim waste that may otherwise have been discarded by institutions, and to use this waste as an input resource to another process; a process that lends itself to the conversion of a discarded product. In contributing to the project, the institution has also shown aspirations to comply with current legislation, standards and directives which not only govern waste treatment, but demand more thoughtful, more productive and less wasteful practices of disposing of waste.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2015 14:59
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:47

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