Worming Our Way to Sustainability | Dawood Engineering Inc.

Worming Our Way to Sustainability

Dawood’s tiniest workers are making our Canonsburg office greener. In what began as an Earth Day initiative to reduce waste being transported to landfills, the Canonsburg office has dug into a new project: vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is a form of composting that uses worms and microorganisms to break down organic matter into nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer.

“As engineers and environmental scientists, it’s part of our professional responsibility to help mitigate impacts on the environment,” said Bony Dawood, President of Dawood Engineering.  “This is an innovative way we can be more sustainable, and I’m proud of our team for taking action on a great idea.”

The vermicomposting system uses perforated five-gallon buckets to contain the worms and provide aeration. As the bucket fills up with compost, a new bucket is stacked on top of the other. The buckets are stored under a desk to minimize light and temperature fluctuations that could affect the worms. When the system is operating under ideal conditions, it produces no foul odors and the worms never escape. This makes for a great indoor system in an office

The vermicomposting system uses red wigglers, which are the same species of worm found at bait and tackle shops. These worms are ideal for vermicomposting since they tend to live closer to the surface of the dirt than other species.

Office team members contribute raw food scraps such as apple cores, banana peels, and tea bags to the container as an organic input. The moisture level is controlled using shredded paper and mist-sprayers. Over time, the worms break down the food waste and paper material, leaving behind a dark, nutrient-rich product that team members can take home to fertilize their own plants. The worms are creating a self-sustaining population within the system, although it’s possible a few have been sacrificed to the avid fishermen in the office.