How To: Start a Worm Compost

A worm composting system is a fun, easy way to get a classroom full of kids excited about composting. There’s nothing quite like burying your lunch leftovers and then coming back a week later to find them broken down and almost unrecognizable (and of course, crawling with worms!)

To set up a worm composting system for your classroom, you’ll need:

  • A large Rubbermaid container with a lid
  • Newspaper
  • A bucket full of water
  • A handful of sand
  • A handful of dirt
  • Red Wriggler Worms
  • Compost


  1. Give your Rubbermaid a quick rinse with some water.
  2. Shred your newspaper into strips that are roughly an inch wide.
  3. Soak the newspaper in the bucket full of water.
  4. Take out handfuls of the newspaper and squeeze out the excess water. Fluff the newspaper out again and put it in your Rubbermaid bin.
  5. Fill the Rubbermaid container to the halfway point with damp newspaper.
  6. Throw in a handful of sand.
  7. Throw in a handful of dirt.
  8. Place your worms in the bin.
  9. Place your compost in a corner of your bin, a couple inches under the bedding.*
  10. Close it up with the lid!

*People sometimes worry that their worm compost will smell, but when put together properly, there is little to no odor. To prevent odor, it is important not to overfeed the worms. Start with a small handful of compost. You should check on your worms weekly, so during your next check, see how much they have eaten. If the compost is totally gone, add a bit more next time. If there is still a lot left, put a little bit less in next time.

Other notes:

  • Worms prefer cool, dark places. Don’t put your worm compost right beside the heater!
  • Worms cannot eat meat or dairy. Try not to include more than one orange peel at a time either.
  • Put the compost in a different corner of the bin each week. This will keep your worms moving around the bin.

And that’s it!

If you decide to start a worm compost in your classroom, be sure to submit it as a BC Green Games project! You could win some great prizes.

Need some inspiration on how to get your worm compost started? Check out the work done by Robson StrongStart Centre or Yarrow Community School!