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Locally Delicious Kids Worm Bin

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Locally Delicious and Humboldt State University's Engr215 Introduction to Design class came up with a worm bin design that utilizes a small scale worm bin system to allow children of ages 8-12. The bin can be constructed by kids without the help of their parents following the instructions we developed. This bin enables kids to get hands-on experience with composting and sustainable living. The final design consists of small water-resistant milk cartons that are easily accessible, recycled, and cheap.


Locally Delicious is an organization run through Humboldt County, California, designed to better the community as well as raise awareness on certain issues. The design of the Kids only worm bin is a branch of this group's work with Humboldt State University's Engr215 students, designing sustainable and easily reproducible project for a system of schools in the area. After the projects have been finished and released, material regarding the details of the various projects will be published as a compilation in a book tentatively due out in the fall of 2011. The design outlined below is a product of Onycophora, a group of the aforementioned Engr215 students.

Problem statement and criteria

Criteria Weights Description
Cost 10 The cost of the project was geared towards being very minimal to fit the budget of kids. Most of the material to be used can be acquired at no cost to the child.
Maintenance 4 The amount of time related to upkeep of the worm bin will be minimal and sustainable for an estimated time of six to twelve months.
Materials 7 Materials apart from the worms themselves will not be difficult to obtain for the targeted age group or their parents, i.e. outside of the home, local hardware stores, or local grocery stores.
Efficiency 9 Within two months the worm bin will be able to produce castings provided that the worm bin is properly cared for and is given an adequate amount of food waste.
Build Time 8 Build time should be minimal, i.e. able to be completed over the course of one weekend by the targeted age group.
Educational Value 5 The worm bin design will enable the targeted age group to both learn about the general design of a worm bin and to help them understand the concepts of waste and consumption.
Durability 8 The worm bin design will be able to withstand the effects of child contact and weather for six to twelve months provided that the worm bin is being properly maintained.
Safety 5 The materials used in the design of the worm bin will not be harmful to the targeted age group’s health or well being.
Reproducibility 10 The design of the worm bin will be easily reproducible by the targeted age group, given adequate parental help and supervision.

Description of final project

Our Project is composed of empty milk cartons.

Photos and descriptions

Prototype Milk Carton Worm Bin


Our cost was very minimal because most the materials were recycled materials, this is a table of our costs and total for the project

Breakdown of the materials needed and associated costs.

Testing Results

To test the cardboard milk/silk/juice carton worm bin, we placed a cut off strip of the carton in a glass of water. This test was meant to determine how well the material of the carton would react to extreme weather conditions over a period of time when cut. We also placed a cut up strip of the carton which we had taped back together in the glass of water to determine how well the tape would hold up. After leaving both tests in the glass of water for two weeks now, the strips of carton and tape have taken on little to no damage. Because of these promising results, we have determined that cardboard milk, silk, or juice cartons are a good material to use for the Kids Worm Bin design.

Steps for Making The Milk Carton Worm Bin

  1. Get two milk, silk, or juice cartons, a pair of scissors or a kitchen knife, and a roll of duct tape.
  2. Poke 5-6 holes in the bottom of each carton with your scissors or kitchen knife.
  3. Cut out one side of one of the cartons, and cut out just a small hole on the bottom of the side of the other carton.
  4. Cut the tops of the cartons, creating a door-like structure.
  5. Tape the two cartons together, open side and hole side facing each other.
  6. Shred a small amount of newspaper into thin strips, creating a small pile.
  7. Place some newspaper into each side of your structure, and lightly spray water on it to dampen it.
  8. Add a mall amount of dirt and dead leaves to get the bin started.
  9. Let sit for a few days for the habitat to settle.
  10. Add worms and close the lid flap to give your worms a dark habitat.
  11. ……..
  12. Profit?

Discussion and next steps

The overall design of the kid's worm bin is such a simple one that it allows for various small changes of material and location. The "bin" itself could be constructed of any waterproof, easily accessible material, not just soy milk or cow milk cartons. The design works well both inside and outside, and can be easily placed in any area due to its small size. Though working for a variety of ages, testing results led us to believe----

Once implemented, it would therefore be important to take into account--------

The next steps of the project will be the publishing of the designs and findings in the book compiled by the organization Locally Delicious, and the implementation for students. It will be interesting see what new innovations are made with school byproducts.