03 Feb How To Start Composting In A City
There are really an abundance of reasons why composting is good for our world as a whole and it’s nice to remind yourself of a few of them before you get started.
Reasons To Start Composting
- Reducing landfill
- Composting betters overall air quality
- You already have too much food waste
- It’s the best thing you to give to your plants
- It doesn’t have to be overly complicated or messy
- There are lots of gardens that could use your compost
I could dedicate a whole other post to all the reasons composting is good for the environment but we’re short on time so let’s focus on actions we can take.
This post is going to be a quick list of simple ways to start a compost.
Composting indoors is totally doable although it does take a bit more of a push to get started. If you have the outdoor space to compost you can definitely get a lot more done and giving your compost to a friend who has the space or a local garden is always a good option, but I want to focus this post primarily on indoor solutions as that’s the boat I’m in and I’m sure a lot of you will relate.
How to Store Your Compost
There are lots of ways to store your compost, you basically just need a bucket, bin or pail that will allow you to collect your kitchen scraps and then either transport them to a local garden or start your own composting system.
I love the compost bin that Seed & Sprout gifted me, check out my post for the full review. It’s small and clean and easy to keep in our tiny Barcelona kitchen.
Keeping Your Bin Clean
It’s mostly about getting in the habit of using it. Separating your food as you cook and taking your bin out and emptying it into your compost every few days. Just clean out the bin and dry it thoroughly and you’ll maintain a clean and simple compost system.
As far as cleaning your compost bin goes avoid using soap which can damage the food waste’s ecosystem. Instead stick with a mix of lemon, baking soda and vinegar to sanitize the bin. You can also line the bucket with newspaper to absorb liquids and smells and powder with baking soda. You can also consider spraying you’re bin with ‘Effective Microorganisms’ (EM), these are positive microbs that keep the ecosystem free of bacteria, fungi and the accompanying odors.
How to Compost In An Apartment
Give It Away
A bit of a shortcut as it’s not actually your compost but if you’re short on space finding a local garden or a friend who can use your compost is a great solution.
It’s mostly just about putting yourself out there. Google community gardens in your area and send them a personal message, either through facebook or via email. Sharewaste is a great platform to find gardens that could use your food scraps and turn them into compost and through Facebook and Instagram it’s easy to connect with the right people.
As far as friends go, if you know someone who has the space for am outdoor compost one of the easiest things is to reach out and as if it’s something they would be interested in. Compost makes for amazing fertilizer so if you don’t have the space for your own compost and know someone with a garden it makes for the perfect collaboration.
How to Start A Compost
To better understand things I wanted to include the simple formula for a home composting system.
-Food waste (also called green ingredients, the acting component being nitrogen)
-Brown ingredients which include dry leaves, shredded paper and cardboard (their contributing component being carbon)
It’s a pretty simple formula but the trick is getting the environment right.
Hence a composting system.
How To Start A Worm Compost
A worm composer is one of the easiest ways to compost in an apartment. It’s a small-scale low maintenance composting system and all you really have to do is feed the worms. You can make a DIY worm bin or order one online as well as the worms themselves, the most common type being the red wiggler worm. The worms eat pretty much all fruit and vegetable waste, just not too much citrus.
How To Start A Compost Tumbler
A tumbler is a rotating composting bin. If you have a terrace or balcony space you can order small composting tumbler.
As long as you keep the ratio balanced between green waste (food scraps) and brown waste (paper, cardboard, dead leaves) you won’t have a strong smell and although it’s one of the more expensive systems you’ll be able to create a lot more compost than a worm bin and all of that without an actual garden.
Just turn the tumbler regularly to rotate the compost. You can even collect the liquid that drips out the bottom (referred to as compost tea) and use it as fertilizer for your plants.
Naturemill Composting System
This is another home composting system that works great for any apartment. Compact and highly effective. Although it is expensive but if you can invest in it it’s well worth the trouble. Check out their website for details, prices and even some alternate composting systems.
A fermentation process where food waste is pressed into an airtight container. A layer of bran is put on top and the food is left to ferment for 10-14 days. It uses microbes to decompose the food so the other plus if you can composting basically everything, meat dairy and all the rest.Similar to Naturemill it’s a Japanese system that works great for a small space. Bokashi systems can be ordered online and an easy way to get started. Although less expensive than Naturemill it’s still an investment and you do have to continue buying the bran. But it’s oddorless and compact making it a great apartment option.
DIY Compost Bin
All you need to make your own compost:
- -a container or bucket: plastic boxes, bucket, metal bin really lots of options
- -lots of newspaper or dry leaves
- -a stray to place below your bin
- drill holes in the bottom of your bin for aeration purposes
- place newspaper on your tray below the bin to avoid leakage
- fill the base of the bin with shredded newspaper or dry leaves
- add a layer of dirt and then a layer of food scraps
- continue layering your compost with soil or newspaper
- drill holes in the lid to allow for airflow
- leave the compost for 2-3 months and it will be ready to use as garden fertilizer
Does Composting Make A Difference
So ok let’s be honest. Composting is not the most glamorous affair. Don’t worry if you can’t get started right away, or stick it it 100% of the time- I certainly can’t, but I’m making the effort because I believe that this is how we are going to better things. One small action at a time.
Take the pressure of it. Anything new can be daunting but in all things unknown there is also a sense of adventure, and the variables will come together as you go.
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