TEMPE, AZ - One person's trash is another person's treasure, unless you're a worm, in which case that trash is your food.
It's a simple concept one Tempe woman uses to live a greener, more natural lifestyle.
Lisa Taylor is a graduate student at Arizona State University. She studies biology and is a big fan of spiders. But it's the worms she keeps in her home that sparked our attention.
"You would think it smells, but it really doesn't," said Taylor, referring to the wooden wine crate she keeps beneath her kitchen table. "When you get close to it, it smells kind of earthy, like the woods," she added.
Within the wooden box dwell hundreds of earthworms, all feasting on scraps of fruit and vegetable matter Taylor places atop a layer of dirt.
The worms consume their food, and excrete waste like any other creature. After a few days, Taylor collects the worm castings for use in her garden.
"It's a good thing to conserve limited resources, a good thing not to throw away excess trash if you don't have to," she said.
Taylor has observed interesting worm behavior in the process. Apparently, her little recyclers are picky eaters.
"If you put a watermelon rind in there, each one kind of goes over there. You'll find hundreds of worms under the watermelon rind. If you put in lemon peels or onion peels, they kind of stay away from it," Taylor said with a giggle.
You can buy the worms or find them in manure piles or other compost heaps. The Phoenix Permaculture society has information and offers classes on worm composting. There are also numerous websites devoted to the practice.
It's just another way some are choosing to live a green and sustainable life.
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