How to Compost in an Apartment

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The benefits of composting are clear. If you’re ready to get started, follow these easy steps!

Composting is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint while also producing nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden or potted plants. 

But what if you live in an apartment? It can be challenging to find the space, time, and privacy required for indoor composting, but it’s doable with a bit of imagination.

This guide will teach you how to get started with indoor composting so that you can reap the benefits of this environmentally friendly practice no matter where you live. So, if you’re ready to start saving time and money with this handy DIY project, keep reading for step-by-step instructions.

The benefits of composting

The benefits of composting are vast and numerous. It can help you reduce your carbon footprint, save money on fertilizer and soil amendments, and provide a rich source of nutrients for your garden or houseplants. Composting is also an excellent way to recycle scraps from the kitchen.

There’s just one catch: many people don’t have room in their small apartments for a traditional outdoor compost pile. Fortunately, there are alternatives to composting outdoors that can help you reduce your environmental impact and grow healthier plants.

Indoor composting bins for apartment dwellers

The good news is you don’t need a large outdoor space to start an indoor compost bin

There are many options available depending on the size of your apartment or home and how much time you can devote to the activity.

The simplest option for apartment dwellers is a countertop compost bin. This will take up very little space on your kitchen counter or in an under-sink cabinet. If you want something more advanced, however, there are a few other options for you to consider. 

Aerated compost bins 

Aerated compost bins are a good choice if you have the space and time to tend to them regularly. They provide access to oxygen, which speeds up decomposition and prevents odors from developing inside your home or apartment building. The downside is that they can be difficult for people who live alone or who are extremely busy.

A wormery

A wormery is an excellent alternative if you don’t have the time or energy to maintain an aerated compost bin. These worm boxes take up very little space, but due to the amount of material they need to process at once, they are usually not suitable for small apartments (about one pound). 

Worms perform best when they have a large amount of material to break down at once, so this system is ideal for people who live with others or have a composting partner.

If you live in an apartment building and can try to convince your neighbors to chip in on the worm box purchase price, you may be able to share ownership of one wormery. You can split the labor and composting space amongst yourselves.

Don’t worry if neither of these options appeals to you. You can reap the benefits of indoor composting without purchasing a large or expensive bin by employing vermicomposting techniques at home (i.e., with red worms). All you need is a container for the worms and a few food scraps once a week to keep them alive. Even if you live in an apartment with limited space and time, you can turn kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants.

Indoor bokashi composter

If you’re looking for a composting bin that doesn’t require any attention, an indoor bokashi composter may be the best choice. The microbes inside these bins break down scraps quickly while preventing odors from building up in your home or apartment.

Bokashi is also great if you live somewhere where it’s challenging to get rid of food scraps or yard waste. Although you can technically compost bokashi at home, it’s better to take your finished product to an industrial composter instead of using up valuable indoor space with the microbes.

Picking the perfect indoor compost bin for you

As you can see, there are many options available for apartment dwellers who want to compost. The best choice depends mainly on your living situation and how much time, space, and money you’re able (or willing) to devote to the activity.

The good news is that all of these types of indoor bins will help you reduce your environmental impact while saving you money on fertilizer for your plants. Whether you use an aerated compost bin, a wormery, or one of the other systems listed above to get started with indoor composting, you’ll soon be on your way toward creating healthy organic soil for your plants.

How to Make a Compost Pile - Best Way to Start Composting

How do I get started composting in an apartment?

There are many options available depending on the size of your apartment or room, the amount of time you have, and how much effort you are willing to put into composting. 

A countertop compost bin, which takes up very little space on your kitchen counter or in an under-sink cabinet, is the most basic option for apartment dwellers. If this isn’t enough, there are a variety of other indoor compost bins that may be suitable for you and your family.

There are a few ways how this can be accomplished and done successfully. One option is to purchase a small indoor composter that resembles a trashcan and has wheels on the bottom. It will include a recycling chart so you can see what types of food waste you can put in it.

Eggshells, banana peels, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, apple cores, and any type of fruit/vegetable peelings are just a few examples of compostable food waste. However, there are many more types of food waste for your indoor composter to use as an effective fertilizer source.

Another option for indoor composting is to buy a small greenhouse that has a composter in it already. It will have the same recycling chart inside, and you can use any type of food wastes to make fertilizer. There are many options out there for finding an appropriate composter, so do some research before making your purchase.

What kind of compost do you need?

Different composting methods produce different types of material. You need to know what kind of compost you are looking for before choosing a method.

  • Aerobic Composting: Uses oxygen, requires regular turning and moisture management, produces rich soil that can be used within weeks. 
  • Batch Process Aerobic Composting: Kinetic decomposition over several months in batches indoors or outdoors without turning produces less rich material that can be used for seedling starting or potting soil. 
  • Tumbler Composting: A rotating drum with aeration, moisture, and drainage holes, requires regular turning to mix contents thoroughly inside the tumbler. Can produce finished compost in as little as three months if you have a large enough tumbling drum. 
  • Cold or Slow Composting: Requires no turning and little attention, produces compost over the course of a year that is rich soil for your garden and yard.
  • Hot Composting: Produces finished compost in as little as three months if you have a large enough pile. Requires turning and moisture management and produces less rich material that can be used for seedling starting or potting soil. 
  • Worm Composting: Uses worms to break down organic matter into nutrient-dense fertilizer for your garden. You can also use red wiggler worms to break down food waste in an indoor bin, producing nutrient-dense fertilizer for your garden and rich soil for seedling planting.
  • Compost Tea: Uses microorganisms that help plants grow by breaking organic matter into the nutrients they need. It can be applied directly to plant leaves or sprayed on surfaces like mulch at a rate of one part tea to fifty parts water.

The benefits of composting indoors 

There are numerous advantages to creating an indoor composting bin. It can help you grow healthier plants and flowers in your garden or indoor planters and reduce your contribution to landfills.

It also adds beneficial microorganisms to the soil of any outdoor planting areas surrounding your home, giving plant life a better chance of survival. It produces a rich organic material that can be used on flowerbeds, planter boxes, or even in your vegetable garden.

Another advantage is that it can be used to create a natural method of controlling pests and weeds without introducing harmful chemicals into the soil, air, and water around us. When you compost indoors with your family, you will know exactly what you are putting back into our earth.

Other benefits to indoor composting include:

  • Reduces your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of waste you produce
  • Improves air quality in your home
  • Saves money by reducing the need for fertilizer and pesticides
  • Increases plant growth with added nutrients from composting materials
  • Promotes healthy soil bacteria to fight off disease-causing microbes in plants 

The downsides to composting indoors

One disadvantage of composting indoors is that you may require a second composter during the summer months when your indoor composter becomes too hot. You can also put worms in your bin and let them decompose food waste, but this will require extra maintenance throughout the week or month, depending on how much food waste you produce.

Some people may believe that it is not worth the effort when compared to simply putting their food waste or in a compost bin outside. Still, there are many indoor composting options available today with varying levels of maintenance and upkeep.

Other downsides to indoor composting include:

  • Composting indoors can create an odor.
  • It’s challenging to monitor the compost pile and ensure it is appropriately aerated.
  • You need to make sure there’s enough space for your compost pile indoors.
  • The process of composting creates heat, which means you’ll have to find a way to cool down your home if you live in an area with hot summers.
  • If rodents or insects get into your indoor composter, it can be hard to keep them out because no walls surround the area.

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Recommended Pages:
How to Use Compost: A New Gardener’s Guide
Can Whirlpool’s Fancy New Food Recycler Get More People to Compost?
What is an Earth Battery, and How Does It Work?

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