Composting in an Apartment

I have wanting to start composting for a while, but I live in an apartment. I always thought I wouldn’t have space, or it would be really difficult. Good news for everyone: I was wrong! Composting can be done anywhere, and is way easier than you think.

First off, composting is not just letting your food rot in a container. It does take some work. You can use worms to help break down your food, but I want to figure out what I am doing; otherwise, we might have a worm massacre on our hands.  Instead I used some news paper. Newspaper breaks down really easily, and gets the process going.

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I decided to use a standard 5 gallon bucket to start, I figured I can always go up in size. I normally cook for two people. So far, the 5 gallon bucket is a perfect size for the amount of compostable waste my husband and I produce. You will need to drill a bunch of holes all over the bucket and lid. You will want a lot of air flow through your compost bin. The more air flow the better. Air flow does not mean dry, I keep a spray bottle near my compost bucket. When I go and mix the compost, I give it a spritz if the compost is looking dry. Healthy compost should always be slightly damp.

I keep my compost bin out side under our porch. Do not keep your bin in direct sunlight. Whenever I am cooking, I grab the bin, bring it in the house, and put all my kitchen scraps in. I keep a brick on the top to help keep pests out of the bin. Get a bin that has an easy lid to remove. You will want to mix your compost every day.

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I started my compost with a few vegetable scraps that had seen better days.  You can cut the scraps down to a smaller size to make the compost process faster. Kitchen scraps are great to start composting; they will give the end result a hearty mix of carbon and nitrogen. Which is what helps makes a healthy soil. Egg shells are quick to break down, and get the composting process started. Since I am vegan, I don’t have egg shells. That is where the news paper comes in. It works very similar to the egg shells, and it breaks down quickly.

Here are a few ideas to start your compost:

  • Vegetable scraps/peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea
  • Dried leaves and twigs
  • Grass clippings
  • Untreated wood scraps/sawdust

Let’s talk about things not to compost:

  • Poop-just don’t do it. Poop, especially from critters, can contain organisms caring diseases, and can be transferred to whatever you use your compost on.
  • Dairy products: although they break down, when the bacteria in dairy spoils it can become toxic, and make people very sick. Because the bacteria is not being denatured, it will become toxic. Assuming you will want to use your compost in a garden, or around plants you will eat, just be safe and keep dairy out of your compost.
  • Meat, fat, bone, animal products: composting can actually preserve animal products, and attract critters to your compost.
  • Glossy paper: unlike news paper, glossy paper does not break down, and will remain in your compost.
  • Plants treated with pesticides: the pesticides will not break down, and will transfer to your compost.
  • Metal, tin, plastic: Things that are not biodegradable

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Happy Composting!

 

Love, Liv

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