When living in an apartment composting isn’t always an obvious choice. Composting is usually associated with having a farm, garden, or backyard, but you can also compost in an apartment. This is a great option for living more sustainably and reducing waste.
What is composting
To keep it simple composting is the decomposition of organic materials. These materials are nutrient rich and can be used in a variety of beneficial ways. By keeping organic waste out of landfills we can reduce waste, carbon emissions, methane emissions, food waste and conserve water.
Compost can be used for agricultural purposes. It acts as an all-natural fertilizer that provides essential nutrients that plants need to survive. In addition it can be used for indoor plants, home/community gardens, and tree/shrub maintenance.
How to get started composting
1. Choose a Container
In order to store composting you will want a reliable container. This can be anything from a counter top bin, plastic bag or an investment in a worm bin. When choosing a container you want to make sure it is easy to store and will provide a good seal to keep any bugs or unpleasant smells away.
I personally use old yogurt containers that I keep in my freezer. This keeps the compost from rotting and attracting any pests.
2. Store in an Accessible Location
Location, Location, Location! This is an important one, especially when you are first starting out. If is easy to forget about your compost bin in the beginning so putting it in a visible or easily accessible location will remind you to use it.
You’ll also want to consider the light and temperature of the location because this could cause the compost to start decomposing, which can lead to unpleasant smells. I would recommend keeping compost in a dark and cool location to avoid premature decomposition.
3. Start Collecting Organic Waste
Organic waste is not just limited to food, but also includes a number household items can also be added to compost bins.
Food scraps that are great for composting include fruit scraps, vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, bread, old herbs and spices, etc
Household waste that is great for composting includes dust, houseplant trimmings, leaves, dead flowers, shredded paper, chopsticks, wine corks, napkins, paper coffee filters, etc
You will want to avoid adding any meats, cheeses and fats or grease to your compost.
4. Prepare for Pick-Up or Drop-Off
Once you have collected enough material to fill your container you will want to schedule a pick-up or drop-off for your compost.
Most cities have a compost pick-up program through their public waste management program. You will want to look into the options your city provides. If by chance your city doesn’t offer compost pick-up services check for local non-profit or for-profit pick-up services.
Another option would be to drop-off your compost at a designated location. Often times you can find compost drop-off locations at community gardens, local farmers markets, or even check online for local gardeners or farmers who accept compost. In addition your city may offer citywide compost drop-off locations.
I have personally done both options and it really comes down to preference. Although the pick-up option was convenient, the cost and schedule ultimately didn’t work for me. Now I drop off my compost at local community gardens and citywide drop locations for free and on my own schedule.
Overall, if you want to compost you don’t need a ton of space and you don’t need to make it complicated. Start collecting your organic waste and find the best way to get it to people who have the resources to process it. It’s a great way to reduce organic waste in our landfills.