Worms eat it up
Worms are nature's ultimate recyclers—taking garbage in and turning out black gold. To create a worm-composting haven in a bin, you can't use just any old worms. You need worms that are real chowhounds. Red wigglers, which are also called red worms, are the most voracious eaters of the earthworm family. They can consume half their own weight in organic matter each day and leave behind fertile compost. Pale red, the tiny, threadlike, baby worms grow from 1/8 inch up to 4 inches long at maturity.
Red wigglers are available from garden-supply catalogs and through ads in gardening magazines. They are sold either by the number of worms or by the pound. Prices range from $20 to $40 per pound, which is usually about 1,000 worms. Since they won't survive shipping in cold weather, you may not be able to purchase them by mail from November through March. I ordered my worms from a garden-supply house in September. They arrived on Halloween, tucked in moist peat moss and wrapped in aluminum foil inside a brown paper bag. I recommend starting with 2 pounds of worms for a two- or three-person household.
These wigglers are in worm heaven as long as you give them a dark, cozy home with plenty of food, moisture, oxygen, and a comfortable temperature. You won't have to worry about them escaping from their bin as long as you provide the right conditions.