Looking at nature as our teacher, we look at the vulture, fungi, earthworms, and the black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) to understand recycling. Unattractive and misunderstood, they change the waste accumulated into a usable resource for the environment around. The unappealing and unattractiveness of trash and waste is the biggest hurdle for people to get past. Just the word “trash” has a negative connotation to it. Changing our internal programming of trash from garbage to a resource that just needs a little love and creativity to shine bright, we start to look past our prejudgments of trash. Even among our Core Members of Finca Morpho, we have issues with the appearance of trash and it has taken time to come around to the idea of labelling it as a resource. Organized trash looks different from a landfill, and having the system in place takes time and a dedicated person to the project. How do you get from landfill appearance to a “Trash Temple”? Within temples, everything has a place and is honored for what it is. Only through Understanding, Cleaning, Organizing, Patience, and Creativity can you reach a true complete system with very limited waste.
Recently we took the chickens away from this project and moved them to our sister farm. Now we have 3 methods of dealing with food waste. First being our long term compost / biodegradable system which deals with moldy foods, processed foods, foods with additives, conventionally farmed foods, and citruses. Next being our soil food compost mixture which has specific recipes to follow to balance each mixture. Bones are separated and burnt down for bone meal. Coconut husks are used to make biochar. Finally our black soldier fly larva system in 55 gallon barrels, which deals with everything else.
In our opinion the black soldier fly larvae are the real composters of the farm. They eat raw and rotting meats, veggies, fruits, manures, and almost anything you throw at them. Using the liquid waste from our BSFL systems we have seen great improvements from our plants and microbiology in our soil. When our systems are full they are set aside till all larvae are gone. Then we pass the sludge to our earthworm system to it break down further into black gold. We do multiple systems to have them always rotating.
Our compost design is special, takes lots of ideas and combines them together to make it work for us. Mixing the terra preta idea of toilets using biochar, black soldier fly larva eating our humanure, and having it all in 55 gallon barrels to be in our high heat environment we have seen great improvements in using it for our soil and fruit production. Another observation we have noticed is large beetle grubs in our humanure mixtures after sitting for a year in the barrels. We have added to our soil in the following method;
- First by digging a hole two times the size of the humanure.
- Second by layering the hole with cardboard.
- Third adding a layer of biochar.
- Forth adding the humanure.
- Fifth adding another layer of biochar.
- Sixth adding another layer of cardboard on top.
- Seventh filling in the rest of the hole with rest of the soil.
Another thing to consider is medications of the people using the composting systems. The meds we use come out in our poop and in our urine. With the research coming out with BSFL systems we believe this is a great alternative to help reduce medications being present and help break them down(along with time, heat and other micro-organisms).
Biodegradable and Compostable Waste
After a year of setting our tanks to the side in the heat and covered (but not sealed) it turns into a compost we can use on our fruit and hardwood trees. We find all kinds of life living in this system which we feel means the environment is working its magic on our mess.
Our current system we are trying to put in place creates the loop idea and uses it in the design of of our Trash Temple. You start by light sorting of hard plastics, organics, soft plastics, metals, broken glass, non broken glass, fabrics, containers, and anything for an art project. All on a table with 2 slots in opposing corners for organic and soft plastics. Everything else can be picked out off the table and then you can quickly slide things to the corners. From here the organics go to long term composting. Everything else gets cleaned in the next step in our sink and drying station. Next it goes through another more particular sort. Soft plastics are for ubuntu blox. Hard plastics are stored till we have the shredder from Precious plastics to then use #1 and #2 for 3d printer filament. All other plastics will be shredded and bricked in bottle bricks for construction. Metals get sorted by type of metal and then stored for the Phase 4 of a forge. Phase 2 of the project comes with a glass tumbler to help break down two 55 gallon barrels of broken glass. We love using glass for the kitchen but accidents happen. All usable glass gets put back into our system. Peanut butter jars get used for screws, nails, bolts, nuts, and washers to help sort by type and size.
Random other products get stored until further time for research. We use our rocket oven design for blacksmithing right now. We have used rebar and other scrap metals to make knives and hanging hooks. Tiles gets reused in mosaic designs. PVC gets used for random projects. Electronics are stored for building robotic systems in the future.
Just recently we had the ability to collect about 15 truck loads of scrap wood from a concrete building project down the road. All this wood is being used to build the shelves to house long term items for a better appearance and more conducive flow in our Trash Temple. All of the building material (AKA trash) came with about 12 bags of styrofoam and then loads of other metals and plastics. From the styrofoam and soft plastics we made Ubuntu Blox that will be used for seats around the farm. We basically took all of the trash they didn’t burn and integrated it here onto the farm.