Newswise — Jan. 15, 2018 –  Composting is a great way to reduce waste sent to landfills while benefiting garden soil. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) January 15 Soils Matter blog post explains the difference between traditional composting and vermicomposting—and how even apartment-dwellers can take part!

Traditional composting (thermophilic) uses naturally-occurring heat to break down vegetable waste, paper products, and yard waste. But it also requires contact with the ground and its microbes, and a generous allowance of space and time.

Vermicomposting, however, is quicker and can be done on a smaller scale. Worms, such as red wigglers, process the waste into nutrient-dense worm casts for the soil. A quick DIY build with plastic bins makes this possible for more people.

“One of the main benefits of vermicompost is that there is no amount of waste too small to get started,” explains Caitlin Hodges, Pennsylvania State University. “This makes vermicomposting especially attractive to apartment-dwellers who may not produce quite as much compostable waste as those with yards. Additionally, vermicomposting is much faster than thermophilic composting in producing a soil-ready amendment (about a month versus 2-6 months).”

Hodges, herself an apartment-dweller, uses a small vermicompost system. “Whichever method you chose, both thermophilic compost and vermicompost are great ways to reduce your waste output and create a great soil-improving amendment.”

To read the entire blog post, visit

Follow SSSA on Facebook at, Twitter at SSSA_Soils. SSSA has soils information on, for teachers at, and for students through 12th grade,

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.