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Worms are Killing the Planet

Worm composting could be doing more harm than good to the environment, according to research in Germany .

"Worms produce a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Recent research done by German scientists has found that worms produced a third of nitrous oxide gases when used for composting," an expert was quoted as saying.

In an interview with a leading renewable resources journal, Jim Frederickson, senior research fellow at Britain's Open Universities faculty of technology, said the German research showed that worm composting has deleterious effects on the environment that should be considered more seriously.

Worms naturally produce nitrous oxide gases when they are put into the process of composting.

Worms can be used for home grown composting or commercial composting and are typically red worms. They are used to recycle food scraps and other organic material into valuable soil worm compost, otherwise known as vermicompost. This compost can then be used to grow plants.

"We have concentrated on getting waste out of landfill and into worm composting systems but they can actually produce more greenhouse gases than landfill sites produce," Frederickson told Materials Recycling Week, a leading publication for the recycling and waste-management industry.

In Germany and other environmentally aware countries, governments have supported the composting of waste in efforts to reduce the land filling of biodegradable waste. This includes encouraging householders to invest in home composting systems.

Although Frederickson says that worm composting is a positive thing, he claims that not enough research has been done on worms releasing polluting gases.

Speaking of worms, Frederickson told the magazine: "Everybody loves them because they think they can do no harm but they contribute to global warming. People are looking into alternative waste treatments but we have to make s
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