How to Compost in an Apartment

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:14
When you think of composting, you might picture stinky piles that take up a ton of room. If you're an apartment-dweller, you may be wondering if you can compost without a yard. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to compost that won't make...
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When you think of composting, you might picture stinky piles that take up a ton of room. If you're an apartment-dweller, you may be wondering if you can compost without a yard. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to compost that won't make your apartment smelly or take up a lot of room. We'll walk you through several methods—you're sure to find one that will work for your place!


Set up a countertop compost bin.

  1. Use the small bin to store your food scraps until you can compost them.
    Before you even decide what to do with all your food scraps, you've got to store them somewhere in your kitchen. Shop for a small bin that you can set on the counter or under a sink. Many models include biodegradable bags to make cleanup easy, or charcoal filters to minimize the smell.[1]
    • Keep in mind that you're not actually creating compost in a countertop bin. The bin is just a handy place to keep scraps while they're in your kitchen. Then, you can transfer them to a small tumbler on your balcony or donate them to a community garden.
    • If you don't want to buy a countertop bin, use an old ice cream bucket that has a lid you can snap shut.
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Use a large bucket composting system.

  1. Create a compost pile on a smaller scale using a 5 US gal (19 L) bucket.
    Place the bucket in a kitchen closet or on a small patio so it's out of the way. Then, gradually fill your bucket with food scraps and dry brown materials like shredded paper or cardboard.[2] You will need to water the compost whenever it looks dry, but bucket composting is a simple system that doesn't take much space.[3]
    • Aim for a ratio of 2/3 dry brown materials with 1/3 food scraps.
    • Keep the lid firmly on the bucket to prevent pests from getting to it.
    • Watering the compost allows it to decompose.[4]

Try the Bokashi method of composting.

  1. Go with this system if you want a faster way to break down the compost.
    The Bokashi method works just like the large bucket system, except that you'll also layer a grain product called Bokashi bran with the food scraps. Shop for Bokashi bran at your local hardware store or find it online. This bran has formulated yeasts and bacteria that help break down the waste faster. It also makes a really nutritionally-dense compost.[5]
    • If you love to garden on your balcony or patio, the Bokashi method makes excellent compost!
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Set up a worm bin.

  1. Vermicompost is a great method if you want to quickly create compost.
    [6] Place 1 pound (450 g) of red wiggler worms in a big storage container and provide moist shredded cardboard. Then, toss your food scraps into the tote. The worms feed on the scraps and produce castings or poop that you can add to the soil for container plants. It's a fantastic method for apartment-dwellers![7]
    • Shop for red wigglers online or ask a friend who has a worm bin already set up. Just ensure that you don't get an invasive worm species like the Asian Jumping worm, Alabama Jumper worm, or George Jumper worm.[8]
    • Plan on feeding the worms about 1 pint of waste at a time. Once the worms break that down, you can feed them again.
    • Worm compost bins usually resemble plastic trays. You can keep them in either an indoor or outdoor space.[9]

Try an electric countertop food digester.

  1. Process your food scraps to reduce the amount you donate or waste.
    Although this method doesn't make compost, it reduces food waste volume by 90%. Put food scraps into your electric digester. It heats, chops, and dries the scraps, so you're left with a powdery substance. You can sprinkle this on soil if you've got a balcony, or you can put it in the trash.[10]
    • This is a good option for people who don't want to produce compost, but who are looking to cut back on food waste that ends up in the landfill.
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Attach a window box composter to a window.

  1. This is a great option for small-scale compost that's out of sight.
    You don't have to store scraps in your kitchen, especially if space is super tight. Secure a standard window box to the exterior of your kitchen window. Then, you can reach over and add food scraps to the box whenever you need to. To help it break down and minimize smell, cover the scraps with soil.[11]
    • Window box compost tends to dry out easily, so water it regularly to help the material break down.

Place a compost tumbler on your balcony or patio.

  1. A tumbler is a great option if you want convenience and you have a little space.
    You can buy a small tumbler and fill it with your food scraps. Since you regularly turn the material, it will break down faster than in a compost bucket.[12]
    • Another benefit is that tumblers completely seal to keep pests and smells out.
    • If you're composting a lot of scraps, look for a dual-chamber tumbler or consider getting two small tumblers.
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  1. Check with your city hall or community center to find drop-off spots.
    Many groups love having great compost material, so you'll probably find several takers! Community gardens usually accept material, and you could even ask farmers at weekly farmer's markets if they'd like it.[13]
    • If transportation is an issue, ask the local group if you could set out buckets of your compostable materials for them to pick up.
    • If you're open to donating your compost to an individual rather than a local organization, join ShareWaste and look for hosts in your local area![14]

Use a municipal composting service.

  1. Your apartment's waste company might collect food scraps for composting.
    Some cities are attempting to make it easier for residents to compost, especially if they don't have access to space. Talk with your landlord or call the waste company and ask if they accept food scraps for compost. If they do, you'll probably need to put the material in a sealable bag and place it in a specific bin for compost pickup.[15]
    • If your city or apartment building doesn't offer this service, urge them to adopt it! Ask friends and fellow apartment-dwellers to email or call, so it's easier to get everyone involved in composting.
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Pay for private composting service.

  1. Check out monthly subscriptions to have a company pick up your compost.
    If you don't have composting options in your city, don't stress! Research private companies that offer residential service pick-up. Usually, you'll pay a small fee and the company gives you a container to put your compost in.[16] Depending on how often you schedule pick up, they'll pick up your compost every week or two.
    • Talk with your neighbors or friends who also live in your apartment and ask if anyone has a composting service. They may have offers for you or all of you might be able to share a subscription.

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