For whatever good it does, we recycle everything that we can here. Glass, plastic, cans, and corrugated cardboard go to the recycling center. Chickens get our vegetable scraps, gardens get the grass clippings and leaves. That leaves us with about 2 kitchen sized garbage bags of trash a week. I noticed that a good portion of that was non-corrugated cardboard - cereal boxes and pasta boxes - and junk mail.
This year I decided that I would find a solution to this last category of garbage. I went on one of the sites that takes you off catalog mailing lists (can’t remember which one) so my junk mail should be reduced, but still - there was the paperboard.
I had the idea that I could shred the paperboard in a paper shredder, but I didn’t want to fork over big bucks for a heavy duty paper shredder, or even $20 for a cheapo shredder that would have a questionable lifespan shredding cardboard. Also, what to do with the shreds? They would be okay for chicken bedding until they got wet, or they would be okay as a mulch - but not very attractive.
I thought about requesting a paper shredder on freecycle but never really got up the nerve. Goodwill to the rescue! I found 3 shredders on our Saturday trip - one that looked reasonably sturdy and worked in reverse. $3.97! That is the kind of investment I will take a chance on! When I got it home I took it apart, cleaned out the jammed up paper and even soldered a couple wires back in place. (Don’t anyone be too impressed here - there was a black wire and a yellow wire and the places that they obviously came from were labeled Y1 and B1. Not rocket science!)
It works great now - in reverse and forward, and it only complains a little when I run pieces of cereal boxes through. It took several 5 -10 minute sessions to shred through January’s boxes and junk mail, but I didn’t want to burn the motor out so we took lots of breaks. I think a weekly 5- 10 minute shredding session will take care of our garbage now that we are caught up. I put the shredder on an empty 5 gallon bucket to catch the shreds, which I then decided was the perfect receptacle for my shred-using plan.
A worm bin! For red wigglers, or composting worms. They like newspaper and cardboard and junk mail bedding, and they like coffee grounds, banana peels and citrus peels - all things that the chickens can’t do much with.
So here is how we made the worm bins - we made 1 for us and 2 more for friends who are also interested in vermicomposting.
Dashiell is drilling holes in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. I drilled a few more on the side a few inches from the bottom.
Here is Ray filling this bucket with shredded cardboard and paper -then we wet it down.
Then we put some soil on top and I wrote 1,2,3,4 with a sharpie marker at points 1/4 of the way around. From what I’ve read you’re supposed to feed the worms in a different spot every day so they move around.
Finally we put the bucket with the holes, shreds, dirt and numbers in a plain old regular bucket. This is to catch the “tea” that drips out of the worm bin. Last - a lid for the top.
I ordered some worms and I think they’ll be here later this week - I’ll update on this project in a few weeks.