A surprising experiment


Towards the end of last year I made the decision to make my cloth books out of all natural and biodegradable materials; to swap the polyester satin ribbon for silk ribbon, the polyester fleece padding for cotton/bamboo padding, and to only use cotton fabric and cotton thread.

And I wanted to do an experiment to make sure that the natural fibres I am using really are biodegradable.

So I stitched together two samples: one all natural (cotton, bamboo, silk) and one not (polyester fabric, ribbon, padding, and thread).


I put the two samples into a poly mesh bag. The hypothesis was that the natural sample would biodegrade, and the polyester sample would be pulled out, dirty, but still intact inside the mesh bag.


And then I put the mesh bag into an established worm farm at one of our local schools.



The lid was closed and everyone went on holiday for six weeks. The shredded paper you see in the photo is ideal holiday food for worms apparently.

Today, two months later, I went to see what was left in the poly mesh bag.

I took the lid off and poked around with a stick.
I was given a metal fork from the kitchen and with it I lifted and turned the whole layer disturbing many worms but finding…


No green mesh bag, no polyester ribbon, no polyester fleece padding. Nothing besides the food scraps that had been added since the beginning of school a couple weeks ago.

It could be that the polyester had broken into pieces and was now covered in muck and worm castings and completely unrecognisable but not completely biodegraded.

So we will be doing another experiment and this time we won’t leave it so long. I’ll go back and check it weekly and document what I see. Watch this space!

Do you have a worm farm?

What do you think happened to the bag of samples?

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