Composting in an Apartment

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Options for green living in an apartment are limited because you don’t control many aspects of the building or how it is run. Gardening and composting are a possibility, even if you’re stuck on the top floor of a large apartment building. While an outdoor compost heap is usually large, an apartment version naturally needs to be more compact without any smelly odors to drive your neighbors mad. Small compost containers, called kitchen or countertop compost containers, fit an apartment environment well.

Step 1

Identify the location for your compost bin, such as under the kitchen sink, on a balcony, in a spare room or on the countertop. Measure the available space.

Step 2

Purchase a small garbage can or plastic box to serve as your compost bin. Drill holes in the bottom and sides of the bin to allow air to reach it. Place the bin on top of a tray to keep the material from leaking on the floor.

Step 3

Purchase a small composting unit that will fit into the available space, using your measurements as a guide, if you don’t want to make your own bin. Choose a composting container made specifically for indoor use, such as a kitchen or countertop composting unit.

Step 4

Place soil in the bottom of the container as a starter. Add a handful of dry materials, such as dry leaves, shredded newspaper, cardboard or straw.

Step 5

Cut up food scraps into small pieces before placing them into the composting unit. Smaller pieces break down faster to speed up the composting process. Place the food scraps into the composting container.

Step 6

Add more of the dry ingredients to balance the levels in the composting unit. Planet Green suggests equal parts dry ingredients and food scraps. Add more dry materials if the compost unit begins to smell or if the contents become too wet.

Step 7

Stir the contents of the composting bin once a week to add oxygen, which speeds up the decomposition process.

Step 8

Harvest the completed compost to use in houseplants, a container garden or a community garden in your apartment complex.

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