Are you a city dweller with a green thumb and a desire to reduce your environmental footprint? Composting in an apartment may seem like a challenge, but it’s entirely doable with the right tools. In this guide, we’ll explore the best compost bins for apartment living, helping you turn your kitchen scraps into valuable, nutrient-rich for your indoor plants or local community garden. We’ll be diving into the best apartment composting systems and demystifying the process, making composting possible in even in the coziest of urban spaces.
While apartment living may come with space limitations, there are innovative and compact composting solutions available that can help you tread more lightly on the planet. Whether you’re a composting newbie or a seasoned pro, this guide is your go-to resource for making your apartment an eco-friendly haven and reducing your carbon footprint. Join us as we explore the perfect compost bin options for every apartment, so you can start turning your food scraps into garden gold or community contributions.
The Classic Countertop Composter
For apartment dwellers, a kitchen countertop compost bin is the ideal starting point. However, this cannot be your only composting solution as these countertop containers are quite small. These compact containers are designed to fit seamlessly in your small kitchen. They usually come with a tight-sealing lid and a removable inner bucket for easy transport to a larger outdoor compost bin or local collection site. Look for ones with charcoal filters in the lid to eliminate odors, making it a practical and odor-free solution. I’ve seen both ceramic and stainless steel countertop compost bin options.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Electric Indoor Composters
If you’re looking for a more high-tech solution, consider an electric indoor composter. These innovative devices can turn your food scraps into nutrient-rich soil in a matter of hours. They are odorless and compact, making them the perfect indoor compost bin for apartment living. However, they can be a bit pricier than other options, so it’s an investment in both sustainability and convenience.
The Lomi electric composter is a game-changer in the world of composting. This innovative and beautifully designed appliance is built to make composting at home a breeze, regardless of your living space. The Lomi composting system efficiently processes kitchen scraps, from food waste to small yard debris, using heat, oxygen, and aeration. What sets it apart is its speed and convenience – it can turn your organic waste into nutrient-rich compost in just 24 hours! This means you can easily manage composting in your apartment or home without unpleasant odors or the need for a large outdoor compost pile.
The Vitamix Foodcycler electric composter is a true marvel for eco-conscious households. This ingenious appliance revolutionizes food waste disposal by transforming kitchen scraps into black gold right in your own kitchen. Using a combination of heat, grinding, and dehydration, the Food Cycler can reduce kitchen waste volume by up to 90%, all while keeping odors and pests at bay. It’s a space-saving, eco-friendly solution that suits both apartments and houses, making composting more accessible and efficient. The resulting compost can be used to enrich your garden soil or potted plants.
Worm Composting – Vermicomposting
Vermicomposting is an excellent option for those who want to take their composting game to the next level. A small worm bin can fit neatly in a closet or under your sink. Worms efficiently break down kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich castings. It’s not only eco-friendly but also a fascinating way to teach kids about nature and recycling. Just make sure to learn the basics of vermicomposting to keep your worm bin thriving. Worm composters may seem intimidating but they’re really quite simple once you get the hang of it.
10 Helpful Tips for Successful Vermicomposting
- Choose the Right Worms: Use red worms, specifically Eisenia fetida or Eisenia andrei. They are well-suited for composting and readily available from reputable suppliers.
- Select a Suitable Container: You can use a variety of containers for vermicomposting, from specialized worm bins to repurposed plastic storage bins. Ensure the bin has a lid and proper ventilation.
- Prepare Bedding Material: Shredded newspaper, cardboard, or coconut coir make excellent bedding materials. Dampen the bedding to the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
- Feed in Moderation: Start slow and gradually increase the amount of kitchen scraps you add. Avoid overfeeding to prevent odors and fruit flies.
- Balanced Diet: Provide a balanced diet for your worms. Include a mix of “green” materials (kitchen scraps) and “brown” materials (bedding). Examples of green materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and tea bags. Browns can include shredded newspaper, leaves, and cardboard.
- Chop or Blend Scraps: Smaller food scraps break down faster and are easier for worms to process. You can chop or blend your kitchen scraps before adding them to the bin.
- Aerate the Bin: Worms need oxygen, so regularly fluff the bedding and food scraps. You can use a small hand rake or gently turn the material with a fork.
- Maintain Moisture Levels: Keep the bedding consistently moist but not soggy. A spray bottle can help regulate moisture. If the bin becomes too wet, add more bedding.
- Regulate Temperature: Worms thrive in temperatures between 55°F to 77°F (13°C to 25°C). Keep the bin in a location with a stable temperature to ensure their well-being.
- Harvest Carefully: To harvest the compost, move all contents to one side of the bin and add fresh bedding and scraps to the other side. The worms will migrate to the new food source, making it easier to collect the finished compost.
Bokashi composting is a Japanese method that uses an airtight bucket and a mix of beneficial microorganisms to ferment organic matter. While it won’t produce traditional compost, it’s a fantastic way to recycle food scraps and organic waste in a small space. Bokashi buckets are compact and odor-free, making them a versatile choice for apartment composting. They’re a popular choice for their ease of use.
Why is Bokashi Highly Recommended for Small Space Composting?
- Indoor Composting: Bokashi composting can be done indoors, which is especially advantageous for those without access to outdoor space, such as apartment dwellers. The anaerobic (airtight) nature of Bokashi bins prevents odors, making it a convenient option for indoor use.
- Versatility: Bokashi can compost a wide range of organic materials, including meat, dairy, and oily foods that aren’t typically recommended for other composting methods. This flexibility can reduce food waste significantly.
- Speed: Bokashi composting is faster than traditional composting methods. In just a few weeks, the fermented waste can be ready for burial in soil or for further decomposition in a traditional compost pile.
- Minimal Space Requirements: Bokashi bins are compact and don’t require much space. They can easily fit under a sink or in a cupboard, making it ideal for small homes.
- Rich Liquid Fertilizer: Bokashi systems produce a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer as a byproduct. This “Bokashi compost tea” is a valuable plant fertilizer and can be diluted and used in your garden.
- Soil Enhancement: When Bokashi-fermented waste is added to soil, it enhances soil structure, promotes beneficial microorganisms, and increases its nutrient content, making it an excellent soil conditioner.
- Low Environmental Impact: Bokashi composting produces minimal greenhouse gases, making it an environmentally friendly choice. It also reduces the need for landfill disposal of organic waste.
- Reduced Pest Attraction: The Bokashi system with airtight lid prevents pests and rodents from being attracted to the compost, a common concern in outdoor compost piles.
Compost Tumbler on the Balcony
If you have an apartment or condo balcony, you might consider using a compost tumbler system. As someone who has been using a compost tumbler for the past 8 years, this wouldn’t be my first recommendation for apartment dwellers but it’s an option. The main disadvantage to using a compost tumblers is that it can be a bit messy when you are ready to unload the finished compost. If this isn’t a concern for you, a compost tumbler is a great, affordable composting option for small spaces.
Community Composting Services
If you’d rather not manage your composting system yourself, look for community composting services in your area. Many cities now offer curbside collection of organic waste, which is then composted on a larger scale. This is a hassle-free way to participate in composting without needing to store
bins in your apartment. I also love this option because municipal composting facilities often accept waste that you couldn’t normally compost in your own backyard like bioplastics, bamboo, and dairy products. Of course, you’ll need to check with your local facility to see which items they accept.
Another simple compost option is storing your food scraps in the freezer and then donating them locally. Reach out to local farmers at the farmers market to see if they can make use of your kitchen scraps. They will often take the scraps off your hands to use in their farm composts. You might even have a friend in your town who would accept your scraps to put in their backyard composting bin. There’s an app called ShareWaste that can show you locations around your city that will accept your scraps. Here are other great apps that help you reduce your waste!
Upcycled Container Composting
For the eco-conscious DIY enthusiast, consider upcycling containers like old storage bins or wooden crates into composting bins. These can be tucked away on a balcony or even under your kitchen sink, providing a low-cost and sustainable way to compost in an apartment.
Whether you’re a newbie to composting or a seasoned pro, apartment living shouldn’t stop you from embracing this sustainable practice. With the right compost bin option, you can reduce waste, enrich your soil, and contribute to a greener, healthier planet, all from the comfort of your city apartment. Happy composting!