Burrowed down deep within the soil, one Lafayette woman found the source of inspiration for a new kind of recycling business.
Taylor Lyons, affectionately called “the Worm Lady,” recently opened her business, Worm Lady Recycles, a recycling worm farm where she sells the worms’ waste as a source of natural fertilizer.
Collecting paper items, such as copy paper, egg cartons and packing paper, along with old vegetables and produce, Taylor Lyons brings these products to her home to send them back to the earth. She cuts up the items into smaller pieces and recycles them by feeding them to the worms living in her backyard, letting them eat and breakdown the waste.
Lyons cutting produce to feed the worms
The worm castings, or the worm waste, are then sold for use in gardens and farms as a fertilizer. Taylor Lyons said using this type of fertilizer keeps harmful chemicals out of the soil.
Taylor Lyons said she started out her worm farm with 30,000 worms, or about 30 pounds of worms, which she ordered online from other worm farms across the United States. She currently has about 60,000 worms, or about 60 pounds, and they will continue to double over time.
The passion for the business came from her love of gardening, which she developed at a very young age. She remembers frequently digging up the white flowers in her backyard as a kid.
Along with her love of nurturing soil, Taylor Lyons said she also had a deep desire to start her own business and when she came across the idea of a worm farm, she realized she was able to combine both into one business.
Current methods of recycling in Lafayette are very inefficient, with a majority of what is being recycled not actually being saved, according to Taylor Lyons. She said that recycling through a worm farm takes the waste and, “puts it back into the earth as part of the natural life cycle,” making it a smarter, more effective way to recycle.
The worms themselves have never really bothered Taylor Lyons. She even likes them, though she wouldn’t consider them to be her pets.
“I kind of consider them my workers. They eat all of the food and break it down,” Taylor Lyons said.
Lyons standing beside worm farm
When her family and friends first heard the idea that Taylor Lyons would open her own worm farm, they thought it was a bit crazy, according to her sister, Mayci Lyons. Taylor Lyons’ best friend of 15 years, Carolyn Walley, said that she laughed at the idea at first.
However, ideas as odd as a worm farm are Taylor Lyons’ style. Walley said that she has always been known for having unique and out of the box ideas.
“She has always been creative, so it wasn’t a surprise that she would be doing something different like this,” Mayci Lyons said.
Her work has also inspired those close to her to be more conscious of their waste. Mayci Lyons said that since her sister started this business, she and her other siblings have been more active in recycling on their own.
Taylor Lyons said her hope for Worm Lady Recycles is to eventually expand commercially and sell her worm castings to farmers and nurseries in the area. Lyons said she is working on building her inventory of recycled goods to feed her worms. She currently has two drop off sites in the community for residents to drop off their recyclables. One is located at 206 Vivian Drive, and the other is at 115 South College.
The biggest goal Lyons set for her organization is to make an impact on the community, especially through education on fighting the waste crisis and waste reduction.
Lyons wants people to think of her recycling business as the last step in the recycling process, with the first step being reducing the amount of waste they use. Lyons said that when people begin to become aware of how many things they throw away, it becomes easier to do their part to reduce the amount of waste.
Lyons said she is working toward providing field trips for schools in the area to learn about her worm farm and waste consumption. She has also been providing her worm castings to several schools in the area for their students to learn more about recycling and environmental science.
Through Worm Lady Recycles, Lyons said she has also found more inspiration within herself and hopes to continue bringing that to the community.
“This has really given me a different outlook on my life. I think it’s really important for a change to happen soon to fight the waste crisis that is going to happen,” Lyons said.
Lyons shows off worm farm