Apartment Composting: Recycling Waste for Urban Gardens

Composting is an easy and natural way to recycle waste from our daily lives that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Believe it or not, you too can make a difference even if you live in a small apartment in the city.

By apartment composting, you can improve your own life through the benefits of healthy plants, herbs, and vegetables, while positively impacting the environment and society as a whole.

In this blog post, I will share with you the benefits you can get from composting and give a step-by-step guide on how to start composting in your apartment.

Let’s learn how to reduce our contribution to landfills and how apartment composting benefits both our environment and our urban gardening!

Benefits of Composting

Composting is a simple and natural process that offers significant benefits for the environment and your wallet. By choosing to compost, you can reduce the amount of waste you send to a landfill and provide your plants with a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Environmental Benefits

The environmental benefits of composting are numerous. Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing organic waste in landfills, which contributes to climate change. By composting, you can also reduce the amount of organic waste that goes to landfills and the energy used to transport and process it. This helps conserve natural resources and reduce harmful emissions from incinerators and landfills.

Economic Benefits

Composting can also help save you money. By creating your own compost, you can reduce your need for store-bought fertilizers and soil amendments. Composting can also reduce the amount of waste you produce, which could save you money on garbage disposal fees.

Overall, composting is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet while enjoying cost savings.

What can be composted

Composting in an apartment is not much different from outdoor composting except for the space and the available items for composting. Most organic and biodegradable waste can be composted, including fruit and vegetable peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, newspaper, and cardboard.

It’s always best to avoid adding meat, dairy, or oily food waste to your compost as they may attract pests and create unpleasant odors. Some other items that should be kept out of the compost bin include synthetic fabrics, plastics, and metals.

If you’re unsure whether an item can be composted or not, it’s always wise to double-check. The more you compost, the better you’ll become at it.

How to Compost in an Apartment

If you’re considering composting in your apartment, there are several methods you can use to make it happen. The following are two common options:

Balcony Composting

If you have a balcony, you can start a balcony composting system. What you’ll need are a few containers and some red worms. Using a standard garbage can, drill some holes in the lid and along the sides for proper ventilation. Drill a hole in the bottom and center so that any excess moisture can drain. Put the garbage can on bricks or another platform, so air can circulate underneath. The bottom container is for catching excess moisture. Fill the garbage can with bedding material such as shredded paper and then introduce the worms. The worms will decompose the organic waste and the waste will be turned into nutrient-rich compost.


Vermicomposting is another popular method of composting in an apartment. Vermicomposting uses worms to break down the organic material into nutrient-rich compost. For worm composting at home, you’ll need a container, bedding material, and composting worms. The container can be a plastic bin with a lid, and it should be around 18 to 24 inches deep. The bedding material should include a mixture of shredded paper, coconut coir, and peat moss. Make sure the bedding isn’t too wet, and add red worms to the container.

By composting in an apartment, you can reduce organic household waste by creating compost suitable for use in small garden plots.

Types of composting equipment for apartments

When it comes to composting in an apartment, there are many equipment options available. The choice of equipment depends largely on the amount of space and time you have for composting.

One popular option is an indoor composting bin. These bins can be kept under a sink or in a closet and are designed specifically for small-scale composting. They usually have a tight-fitting lid and come with a carbon filter to prevent odors.

Another option is a compost tumbler. These are larger than indoor composting bins and are designed to sit outside on a patio or balcony. Compost tumblers are great for people without access to a yard or garden area. They can speed up the composting process by allowing the compost to be turned and aerated more easily.

Whichever equipment you choose, it’s important to select one that is right for your lifestyle and available space. Some other factors to consider when selecting a composting bin include ease of use, capacity, and durability.

In addition, there are many DIY options available for those who want to make their own composting equipment. A quick search online will yield many creative and low-cost alternatives to store-bought equipment.

In summary, there are many types of composting equipment that can be used in an apartment setting. The choice of equipment depends on several factors, including available space, lifestyle, and budget. Whether you choose to purchase an indoor composting bin or make your own, composting in an apartment is a great way to recycle waste and create nutrient-rich soil for indoor and outdoor gardening.

How to maintain composting in an apartment

Maintaining compost in an apartment is crucial to ensuring it does not smell or attract pests. The primary factors to take into consideration are the carbon to nitrogen ratio, moisture control, and aeration.

If the compost produces an unpleasant smell, it is usually due to high nitrogen and low carbon levels. To manage it, you must add more “dry” ingredients such as cardboard, dried leaves, or shredded paper. I suggest having a balance of 2 to 1 carbon to nitrogen for optimal results.

Moisture control is significant because too much moisture can cause compost to smell or become slimy and unusable. Monitor the compost for moisture levels every two to three days and add dry materials if the compost is too wet. If the compost is too dry, spray it with water.

Aeration ensures that sufficient oxygen is available as the compost breaks down. The simplest technique is to turn the heap with a compost fork regularly. You may also introduce holes in the compost bin’s sides to ensure sufficient oxygen.

Maintaining the optimal balance of carbon and nitrogen, adequate moisture levels and aeration assist in composting most effectively. By paying attention to these factors, you increase the likelihood of becoming a successful apartment composter.

Tips for odor control in apartment composting

As an apartment composting enthusiast, you may encounter odor problems caused by decaying food. Here are some of my favorite tips to help control those unwelcome smells:

First, an activating agent can quickly eliminate bad odor. Baking soda and lime are some examples of natural activating agents for which you can sprinkle into your compost bin.

Next, covering your food waste with dry ingredients such as leaves, sawdust, and shredded cardboard can also prevent bad smells from emanating.

Air circulation is also necessary for odor control, so ensure your compost bin has adequate aeration. You might also consider using a small fan to keep air flowing.

In conclusion, composting is one of the most efficient ways to dispose of organic matter and reduce environmental hazards. Following these tips, you can enjoy your own homemade compost without the unpleasant smells.

Uses of compost produced from apartment composting

If you’ve been apartment composting for a while, you probably have piles of dark, nutrient-rich compost just waiting to be used. There are a number of ways to put this finished compost to good use and enhance your garden soil, resulting in healthier plants and bigger yields.

One use for your compost is as a soil amendment. You can mix it into the existing soil in your potted plants, balcony containers, or raised beds. Compost serves as a natural fertilizer, adding nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to your soil, without the use of harsh chemicals. Additionally, compost can improve soil structure and moisture retention, helping your plants grow healthier and larger.

Another benefit of compost is that it stimulates plant growth, which can lead to bigger yields. You can apply your compost as a layer on top of the soil for your potted plants, or work it into the soil of your balcony containers or raised beds. If you’re planting new seeds, you can mix your compost with the topsoil to help encourage germination.

Overall, apartment composting can offer many benefits that go beyond just waste reduction. By using the finished compost in your garden or house plants, you’ll be able to see the results of your composting efforts firsthand. So take the leap, start composting in your apartment, and see the benefits for yourself!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, apartment composting is not only an excellent solution to manage waste but also a practical way to enrich our urban gardens.

With the right knowledge and equipment, anyone can start composting at home today!

So, which strategy from today’s post are you going to try first?

I’m always eager to hear from my readers about their experiences and tips on home and garden projects, so don’t hesitate to send me a message and let me know how it goes! 

If you enjoyed reading this post and found it valuable, please consider sharing it on social media.

Help spread the word and inspire more people to take action towards a greener lifestyle.

Together, we can make a difference.

Author: Scott Sanders


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