Inspired by a podcast of Future Ecologies (S. 3 E. 3) and the never-ending polystyrene lining local beaches, I put together a small-scale mealworm polystyrene compost display. This display was meant to educate and inspire polystyrene composting set ups for local beach clean ups and perhaps a further investigation into larger-scale options. A large fish tank was set up at the Little Boat Harbour in Ucluelet with some signs (made from Styrofoam so they could be compost later). I had planned to incorporate a microphone but didn’t feel the need since the mealworms eating polystyrene were surprisingly loud. The mealworms were feeder-grade typically fed to reptiles etc. and easily ordered through mail order.
The idea was to use the compost to fertilize the harbour’s flower gardens. Since, due to a bit of bureaucracy, it wasn’t set up and in place until the end of August, the overnight temperatures slowed down the compost process (80 degrees is ideal). Hence, by mid-September the little critters were pretty lethargic. Currently I’m hoping to find an indoor home for this display so the mealworms can speed up their munching and other audiences can learn that you can compost Styrofoam.
There has been moderate success. A yachting YouTube channel was very interested in spreading the word and many local people came to view the display. Additionally, various tours leaving the harbour began to incorporate a quick stop to listen to the mealworms munch the styrofoam.