Do you recycle? Great! Did you know that you can reduce your waste by an extra 24% by composting? Chances are, that if you have a backyard, you already know the advantages of recycling your food back into the Earth. But you don’t have to own a backyard – or have any outside space at all. You can start composting in a box inside your own apartment. Why? Because it’s good for the plants, it’s good for the planet, and it’s good for landfills around the world. How? Let’s take a look.
You’re producing less trash – which means less ugly landfills that take up space, produce enormous amounts of greenhouse gases by just sitting there, and contaminate ground water. It also means less CO2 transporting that trash to a landfill, and less plastic bags to put that waste in – which means less plastic in the ocean and less petroleum going in the production of plastic bags, and less animals eating and dying of plastic. So when you compost, you’re helping the Earth control its climate, look prettier, keep its water clean, and maintain its ocean life.
But how do you do it? Here are some questions people have about composting in their own apartment:
#1. It doesn’t smell bad if you compost scraps the right way- see instructions at the bottom of this article.
#2. It doesn’t attract flies/bugs for the same reasons above.
#3. If you choose to add worms to it, they will not leave the compost unless they are drowning in liquid – just keep the liquid content down by adding plenty of dry material.
#4. It doesn’t take up that much space and the scraps you put in it will magically be compacted in a couple weeks.
So without further ado, I introduce my magic zero-dollar and zero-assembly composter: Two clementine boxes stacked together on top of a plastic tray that collects liquid, and topped with a shoebox lid. They’re not even taped together. Really.
Disclaimer: I don’t have time or resources to either buy a compost bin or make a nice one myself, but there are some lovely DIY compost bins out there for the crafty-person, and some great options on the market. But for now, this one does the job. Why?
- It has plenty of holes on the sides and bottom, letting it “breathe”. Composting requires lots of air for the bacteria to do its job – plus, holes on the bottom allows for material on the top to eventually pass through to the bottom layer.
- The two layers allow for the bottom one to “digest” while the top one is in use.
- You can just keep adding clementine boxes.
So, how do you use it? Simple. Add an equal amount of brown material (cardboard, paper, leaves, twigs) for every amount of food scraps (carrot peels, pumpkin shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc.). Or, instead of measuring it out, top every layer of food scraps with a fluffy layer of brown material. Always keep this fluffy layer on top to ensure that it won’t smell or get too wet.
Add worms and dirt to speed up the composting process (I plan on taping the sides of the clementine boxes shut so I can add worms). You should see some serious compactation within a couple of weeks, but don’t get too excited – the actual compost will be take several months to form. You can then use the solid matter in the boxes or the liquid in the tray to fertilize plants in your garden (don’t get discouraged, you can have a garden indoors too! More on that later).
Don’t use the fact that you live indoors as an excuse not to compost! You too can save the world by composting. Click on this video for another easy way and tips on indoor composting.