The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Fellowes PS-60: Worm bin bedding machine

Fellowes strip-cut shredderWorm bin experiment 2011 is gearing up.  Our new shredder came in the mail yesterday --- the Fellows PS-60.  As usual, I over-researched the decision, but was glad I did.  Most of the shredders on the market today are cross-cut or confetti shredders, made to turn your paper into pieces too small for your nosy neighbors to read.  However, the whole point of a shredder for me is to get long strips that won't mat down quickly in the worm bin, so I kept hunting until I found what's called a "strip-cut" model.  Mark talked me into choosing a shredder in the $100 price range since he figures the ones half that price will break down much faster.

I pulled her out of the box, sorted my paper into glossy and unglossy, and let her rip.  Junk mail is suddenly a joy!  The Fellows shredder will take twelve sheets of normal paper at a time, which means I could feed unopened envelopes, big hanks of catalogs, and even the thin cardboard that tea bags come in through with no trouble.  Flattened toilet paper center rolls were too much for her, but you can just turn the switch to reverse if you overdo it and your paper will come right back out.

Meanwhile, I've talked it over with my non-profit, and they're on board for being the public face of asking the local school for their food scraps.  I hope that with a non-profit behind me, I won't look quite so much like a kook.  My letter to the principal is going in the mail this week.  Wish me luck!

Our homemade chicken waterer takes the guesswork out of chicken care.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Nice! I have a smaller one and it clogs up with as many as 6 sheets, which is what the manufacturer says is the maxiumum. That takes major time to fix and the rise in blood pressure using cheap machines is just not worth it. I will wait 'til mine dies, and look forward to replacing it with something more sturdy as I, too, have tons of worms that really do better with shredded bedding. G'luck!!
Comment by J Wed Jan 5 18:13:17 2011

I haven't actually sat down and counted how many sheets I was running through at a time, but I did send entire pieces of junk mail through without opening the envelopes. The other thing that bogged this guy down was a fake credit card (plastic, but lighter than normal credit cards) inside one of those unopened envelopes. That was the only time that it got bogged down enough that I couldn't just reverse the offending article back out. I had to unplug it, cut the parts that had been shredded off, replug it, and then reverse it out, but even that wasn't worthy of raising blood pressure.

I'm always glad to hear people say, "That sounds cool, but I'll wait until my current model breaks before I try it." Perfect!

Comment by anna Wed Jan 5 18:27:32 2011
I made the mistake of buying a crosscut shredder. I figured the smaller it cut, the better. But as you say, strip cutting would be much better as it gives you nice fluffy bedding material. The cross-cut stuff just mats down into a solid layer.
Comment by Darren (Green Change) Thu Jan 6 06:33:36 2011
I really appreciate hearing that you've tried the cross-cut shredder and that my gut reaction was right. It's nice to get that data without having to try out two different shredders!
Comment by anna Thu Jan 6 08:55:51 2011

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