Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Composting is a great eco-friendly habit. It helps minimize the amount of food waste that ends up in your trash can while also creating something that will make your plants thrive. While many people know about composting and its benefits, most of us think it’s an activity that’s exclusive to house owners with some outdoor space.
But that’s not true at all. If you live in an apartment and still want to compost your food scraps, there’s nothing that should be stopping you from doing it. In fact, there are several ways you can compost indoors, so you can consider all of them and decide which one is right for you.
What can I compost indoors?
Let’s start with a reminder of what you can compost indoors. Overall, the rules aren’t that different from outdoor composting. Fruit, vegetables, grains, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and shredded paper can all go into the compost bin without any doubt. Pure cotton and wool fabrics as well as wood trimmings or yard trimmings can also be composted indoors. While hair, fur, and dryer lint are compostable, they take a really long time to break down, so it might be better not to compost them indoors. And of course, remember that eggs, meat, fish, dairy products, fats, and greases are not compostable.
How can I compost indoors?
All you need to get started with indoor composting is a bin. You can get a specialty composting box online or in your local home goods store, but any box made from wood, plastic, or metal will work just fine. Depending on how much space you have and how much waste you produce, you may choose to have a small bin on your countertop or a bigger one under the sink — whatever works for you. Make sure your container has some holes in the lid and in the bottom. The holes in the lid will let the air in, which is necessary for composting since it’s an aerobic process. Holes at the bottom will enable the draining of excess liquid, so put a tray underneath your bin to prevent the water from spilling.
Before putting food scraps into your composter, add a thick layer of soil and some shredded newspaper to absorb excess water and speed up the process. Keep your food scraps in a sealable container and add them to your composter once a week so that the scraps have enough time to decompose.
Worm composting works pretty much just like regular indoor composting, except that you’ll have little helpers — worms. Placed in your composting bin, they efficiently digest the organic matter thus speeding up the process. You can get a worm composter for a reasonable price, but a DIY composter would be enough. European night-crawlers and red wiggler worms are some of the best options for worm composting, but others may work too. Just make sure the species you buy are not invasive.
Many people might have some reservations about keeping several hundreds of worms in their kitchen, but there’s no need to worry about them. Worms always gravitate towards soil and humidity, so once they are in the bin, they will not have any reason to escape their home. And contrary to popular belief, compost bins don’t smell bad at all, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one in your home, even if it’s just a small apartment.