Many people wonder if they can compost in apartments. While there are no gardens in an apartment, many people grow plants like mint, chives, parsley, lavender, and green plants (salads). Composting provides nutrient-rich soil that is great for plants.
This article explains how you can start a composting bin in an apartment.
3 Ways to Start a Compost Bin in an Apartment
1. Buy a Compost Bin: Visit a gardening store nearby or order your favorite bin online. Depending on size, build quality, and material, a compost bin may cost you from $30 to $400. Electric compost bins are costly of the lot but give the best results for apartments. Commercial compost bins are available in different models. You can go with a countertop compost bin, bucket composting system, worm bin, Bokashi composting method, electric countertop composter, window compost box, and small compost tumbler.
2. Donation/Municipal/Private Composting: People who don’t want to compost themselves but still want to play a role in environmental conservation can donate compostable waste. You can also hire a municipal waste collection or private composting firm. These services pick compostable items from your home regularly after a fixed interval.
3. Make a DIY Compost Bin: It is cheaper for starters. You’ll need two same-size plastic bins with lids, a drilling machine, soil, and shredded newspapers or sawdust. Let’s learn more about this method.
Composting in an Apartment with a DIY Compost bin
Take one plastic bin and start drilling holes around the top of the container. The size of the holes doesn’t matter too much, but the holes must be 1-3 inches apart. The holes are critical for airflow during the composting process.
Drill holes in the bottom of the same bin. The holes must be distributed evenly and 1-3 inches apart. The holes allow the composting liquid to drain into the second plastic bin. This liquid can be used to fertilize plants or disposed of.
Place the bin with holes inside the other bin. Fill the top bin halfway with soil and add dry absorbent material like shredded newspapers or sawdust.
Add Organic Waste
The composter is now ready. Add organic waste and cover it with newspaper or sawdust. The additional coating absorbs moisture and prevents molds and odors. Close the lid after adding the material.
The DIY composting bin requires periodic cleaning. Simply lift the top bin and empty the liquid in the bottom bin. The liquid, also known as compost tea, can be used as a fertilizer. Wash the bottom bin, dry it, and place it back.
Things that You Can Compost
- Fruits and vegetable peels and scrape
- Coffee grounds and paper coffee filter
- Nail clippings
- Human hair
- Fresh or dried leaves
- Newspaper, non-glossy paper, shredded
- Grass clippings
- Cardboard boxes or torn pieces
- Bread, stale bread
- Cooked or plain pasta and rice
- Corn husk or cob
- Eggshells without egg white or yolk
Benefits of Composting
Household organic waste fails to decompose in landfills due to a lack of oxygen. Instead, it releases methane gas which pollutes the air and causes global warming. Composting at household and community levels has helped reduce global warming.
Composting’s by-product, compost tea, is a 100% natural fertilizer for potted plants and gardens. Moreover, the soil supplement is excellent and improves the structure and health of the soil by adding organic matter.
Tips to Speed up Composting
- Keep the bin warm: It is critical to maintain a constant temperature to speed up the composting process. The ideal composting temperature is between 90° and 140° F (32 – 60° C). The process slows down considerably below 90° F, and microorganisms die if it goes above 140° F.
- Introduce some twigs: Adding some twigs at the bin’s bottom increase the airflow and speeds up the process.
- Turn and toss: You must turn and toss your compost pile 1-2 times every week. It increases the temperature and decomposition rate.
- Maintain composting ratio: It is important to maintain composting ratio for quick composting. Most people recommend a 3:1 ratio for brown to greens. However, a different ratio may work equally great for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to keep the indoor compost bin?
For composting, dark and dry places are preferred. Therefore, you should place your indoor compost bin in your basement, under the sink, in the closet, or even in a kitchen cabinet. Make sure the place is dry, especially if you are going to put your compost bin under the sink.
How to speed up composting in a bin?
By following a few tricks, you can speed up the composting process.
- Increase the temperature of the place where you have placed your compost bin.
- Add manures, leaves, or other green waste to the bin.
- Adding twigs to the bottom of the bin will increase the airflow, resulting in speedy composting.
- Turn your compost frequently (once every other day) to get more oxygen into the compost.
How often should you add water to your compost bin?
You should water your compost bin once or twice a week. It will depend upon the humidity content in your surroundings. If you live in a warm and dry place, watering compost twice a week will be necessary.