Vermicomposting of organic food waste and spent coffee grounds

Ninan, Lynn (2015) Vermicomposting of organic food waste and spent coffee grounds. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Millions of tonnes of unnecessary organic biodegradable food and coffee waste are sent into UK landfills every year. These wastes are currently processed in a way that produces numerous negative impacts to the economy and environment. Vermicomposting offers an exceptional way of reducing the amount of wastes that goes into landfill by diverting these organic wastes from entering into the process of getting discarded into the landfill.
    Two similar sized reactors were set up in the institution of University of Portsmouth to be monitored and studied for the effects of vermicomposting using the waste produced from Dennis Sciama and Portland Café Hub. Each reactor was introduced to a different proportion of feedstock varying from 1:1 to 7:3 ratio of organic food waste to spent coffee grounds respectively.
    Feedstock was provided on a weekly basis and both reactors were evaluated in terms of how effective the final product will be. By monitoring and controlling parameters such as the temperature, moisture content, electrical conductivity (EC) and pH in the reactors, a fair experiment was established.
    A combined value of 2.39kg of final vermicasts was produced during the 8 week duration of the experimental process. With efficiency of over 60%, it is considered to be a good rate of return for the amount of feedstock that has been used. The success of the experiment was questioned when there was no evidence of cocoons or juvenile earthworms present in any of the reactors. However, no unusual observations were recorded during the entire length of the experiment and therefore given the end product being nutritious, it can be claimed, the experiment was a success.
    By conducting this research, an alternative solution to waste disposal within the University of Portsmouth has been clearly demonstrated. The reduction in wastes being disposed into landfills would also help in minimising the greenhouse gases associated with the natural decay and transportation of organic matter to the landfills. Vermicomposting also has the added advantage of producing a product that is renewable and could potentially be used to enhance the yield of crops. Implementing vermicomposting within the university would help in improving vegetation all around the campus and hence making it an environmentally friendly place.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2015 16:02
    Last Modified: 21 Oct 2015 16:02

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