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Tuesday 4th August 2009
Worms Used to Recycle Textile Industry Waste

A recent Indian study has shown that the introduction of worms and manure to textile industry waste can transform it in to useful compost. The textile industry produces large amounts of waste products, normally in the form of a thick sludge. This sludge is difficult and expensive to dispose of and the Indian textile industry in particular, is facing increasing environmental pressure to find a sustainable and cost effective solution to the problem.

The study, carried out at Guru Jambheshwar University, found that by introducing a rather special earthworm, along with manure from local farms, the waste can be broken down and composted. The worm, known as Eisenia Foetida, is adapted to living in many kinds of environments and will squirm its way through all kinds of waste. The worms are commonly found and even grown commercially for use in composting systems. The movement of the worms aerates the sludge and releases minerals such as potassium useful for cultivating plants. The introduction of the worms also dramatically reduced the alkalinity of the waste. The process takes approximately six months to break down the sludge in to a compost like material.

This pilot scheme is in its early development stage but if successful, could transform the textile industry globally. Textile industry waste is a major concern for many countries as there has previously been no single treatment to effectively and safely dispose of it.

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