If you live in an apartment or other highly urban setting, chances are composting might seem tricky or impossible. Lack of outdoor space may prevent you from being able to have a compost pile, and composting indoors might not seem like the most intuitive process. Fear not! It’s indeed totally feasible to save those scraps from the landfill by composting indoors, even in a small setting. Outlined below are two ways to have an indoor compost without odor or mess:
Counter-top (or under sink) Composting
Counter-top composting can be done by putting leftover kitchen scraps, newspaper, coffee grounds, and other organic material in a container that lives on the counter or under the sink. On average, whatever you put in should break down in about 45 days. Keep in mind, with this method, you shouldn’t add things like dairy, meat, or cooked food. The compost doesn’t get hot enough to fully break them down. For more information on what to add to your compost and how to manage it, check out Apartment Composting Tips.
For this method the container you pick is crucial. You’ll want a container that’s not too big (think about how much kitchen scraps you will actually accumulate – it’s usually not that much) to keep things manageable. Also, as composting’s an aerobic process (meaning it requires air), the container needs to be ventilated. And finally, to minimize odors, a carbon filter is quite nice for indoor composting systems. Not to discourage DIY’ers in any way, but for these reasons, buying a container designed for composting may be a better way to go versus just using an old container of some sort. Check out some of the kitchen composters available through Amazon – many of these look like great options, and start at about $20.
Alternatively, there’s the Japanese method of anaerobic (air-free) composting that requires an air-tight container and a starter culture of Effective Micro-organisms (EM), and wheat bran. Using this method, you can add almost anything to your compost, including dairy, meat, bones, avocado peels, and other notoriously hard-to-break-down stuff. The reason for this: the EM/bran mixture jump starts the anaerobic fermentation process, which is quicker and heartier than aerobic decomposition. Learn more about this from Bokashi Composting.
Bokashi composting has many advantages. When done properly it’s odorless, quick, and tidy, making it ideal for an indoor environment. Not to mention, you can really reduce the quantity of outgoing garbage you have since you can put practically anything from your kitchen into the system.
Things to consider with this method, though, include that you pretty much have to buy a specially designed “system” (also available on Amazon) in order to do it since the container needs to be air-tight, and drainable. You’ll also need to purchase the EM/bran mixture on a regular basis, or otherwise find out how to make it yourself, because you have to add it in continuously to keep things breaking down.
Ultimately, whichever method you choose (and these aren’t the only ones!) will have you on your way to reducing waste and improving soils. So go forth and compost!
(image: That Bloomin’ Garden)