A Brief Guide on How to Compost in Your Apartment

Composting is an ancient practice that takes a load of organic material and returns it to where it came from. It’s perfect for garden waste, but it’s also the ideal way to deal with your food waste, diverting tons of material that would otherwise rot in a landfill or end up incinerated. In fact, as far as the different types of waste are concerned, composting is, in essence, the most efficient and effective form of recycling — and it’s all completely natural.

However, for apartment dwellers everywhere, composting poses a bit of a problem — space, and to some extent, smell. The sad truth is that, for those without a garden or yard, this natural process that so effectively deals with everyday waste remains out of reach…or does it? Well, you might not know this, but just because you don’t have a garden doesn’t mean you can’t compost! In fact, there are numerous ways to deal with organic waste that are also suitable for apartments.

Here then, we take a brief look at how to compost in your apartment or small space. No smells, no pests, and no sacrificing your tiny kitchen — (almost) guaranteed.

Vermicomposting

Vermicomposting uses worms to break down your waste, and assuming you take care of it and follow the instructions, it shouldn’t smell at all. You can easily keep a vermicomposting bin in your kitchen or utility room, adding food waste and the required paper scrap as you go—it’s quick, simple, and will turn your organic waste into perfectly usable compost within a few weeks. One important point to remember is that vermicomposting cannot process meat, fish, or dairy products, and you’ll also have to ensure your waste is layered thinly to prevent heat build-up which is no good for your worms.

However, setting up vermicomposting box for a small family is simple, and you’ll find that it should have plenty of capacity for food waste if you are already striving to reduce it during meals.

What You’ll Need

  • Vermicomposting bin, composting bin with air holes

  • Worms (earthworms, red wigglers, white worms)

  • Paper scraps for worm bedding

Bokashi

The practice of Bokashi is believed to have originated in Korea, although the name is essentially an anglicization of a Japanese word. At its core, Bokashi is really a type of anaerobic fermentation and not composting at all. However, the fact that it requires no air to work effectively is what makes it perfect for apartments. This means there are no smells, no flies, or other pests, and the bins themselves take up very little space.

The process works with a hermetically sealed bin which is closed after waste is added to it. Organic waste is layered about an inch thick. Then you sprinkle each layer with Bokashi bran. You then process the waste and can use it at a soil factory or garden. The bins need to be drained of the resulting liquid every few days using a spigot included in the bin, and this Bokashi tea can be used as a plant fertilizer or to clean your drains in a completely natural way.

What You’ll Need

  • Air-tight Bokashi bin and spigot

  • Bokashi bran

  • Masher to push down organic waste and remove air

Dedicated Apartment Composting Solutions

Today, there are numerous conventional composting solutions designed specifically for apartments. In most cases, they employ some kind of replaceable carbon filter to remove odors, sealing the composting bucket and drawing in air through these filters. In essence, these solutions work in exactly the same way as conventional compost piles, but on a smaller scale.

Alternatively, there are now also hi-tech solutions to apartment composting that use varying methods to deal with organic waste. In some cases, electronic composting bins can turn waste into something approaching compost within a matter of hours. The perfect solution for larger households that have plenty of food waste.

What You’ll Need

  • Dedicated small-scale composting bin

  • House plants for your premium compost!