In an upstairs apartment on a quiet residential street in Goshen is a room full of worms. They belong to AJ Delgadillo. He estimates his 14 worm boxes hold about 17,000 worms. “I knew that I just was not going to become zero waste. That wasn’t possible for my life, but if someone can be zero waste, I can be better.”
Delgadillo recently passed a milestone of diverting half a ton of waste from landfills.
He started composting for himself, then his co-workers, then his neighbors. Now he runs a service and collects waste from people all over Goshen.
The worms aren’t very big but they can eat their weight in organic waste every two days. They like things like fruit and veggie scraps and their bedding--which they also eat--is made out of sawdust, coconut shells and coffee chaff. “So we wouldn’t consider that food, but the worms do. And so that sort of balances out diets to be a better mix of carbon and nitrogen. If we would just feed them all food scraps they would end up with nitrogen poisoning.”
They produce what Delgadillo calls ‘black gold’--or worm poop. It’s a nitrogen-rich product that’s great for house plants and gardens. He sells it at the Goshen Farmers Market.
The worms aren’t Delgadillo’s day job. He said he’s looking for basement space for the worms so they’re out of his apartment and can compost more waste.