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Small-Space Composting Solutions For Urban Apartments

Small-Space Composting Solutions For Urban Apartments

Living in an urban apartment often means sacrificing access to a backyard or garden space. However, this doesn’t mean that apartment dwellers can’t participate in sustainable practices like composting. Composting is a natural process that converts organic waste into nutrient-rich soil, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and providing a valuable resource for gardening. In this article, we will explore small-space composting solutions specifically designed for urban apartments, allowing city dwellers to embrace sustainability and contribute to a greener future.

The Benefits of Composting

Before diving into the specific solutions for small-space composting, it’s important to understand the benefits of composting in general. Here are some key advantages:

  • Reduced waste: Composting diverts organic waste from landfills, where it would otherwise produce harmful greenhouse gases.
  • Nutrient-rich soil: Compost is a natural fertilizer that enriches soil, promoting healthier plant growth and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Water retention: Compost improves soil’s ability to retain water, reducing the need for excessive watering.
  • Cost savings: By producing your own compost, you can save money on buying fertilizers and soil amendments.

Small-Space Composting Solutions

While traditional composting methods may not be feasible in small urban apartments, there are several innovative solutions that cater specifically to limited space. Here are some effective small-space composting options:

1. Vermicomposting

Vermicomposting is a method that utilizes worms to break down organic waste. It is an ideal solution for small spaces as it can be done indoors and doesn’t produce any unpleasant odors when done correctly. Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase a vermicomposting bin specifically designed for indoor use.
  • Add bedding material such as shredded newspaper or coconut coir to the bin.
  • Introduce red worms, which are specifically bred for composting.
  • Feed the worms with kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells.
  • Avoid adding meat, dairy, oily foods, or large quantities of citrus, as these can attract pests or create imbalances in the bin.
  • The worms will consume the organic waste and produce nutrient-rich worm castings, which can be used as fertilizer.

2. Bokashi Composting

Bokashi composting is another indoor composting method that utilizes beneficial microorganisms to ferment organic waste. It is a great option for small spaces as it doesn’t require worms and can handle a wider range of materials, including meat and dairy products. Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase a bokashi composting system, which typically consists of an airtight container and bokashi bran.
  • Place your organic waste, including meat and dairy, into the container.
  • Sprinkle a layer of bokashi bran over the waste to introduce the beneficial microorganisms.
  • Seal the container to create an anaerobic environment that promotes fermentation.
  • Repeat the process until the container is full, draining any excess liquid that accumulates.
  • Once the container is full, bury the fermented waste in a garden bed or outdoor compost pile, where it will continue to break down into compost.

3. Compost Tumblers

Compost tumblers are compact, rotating containers that accelerate the composting process. They are a great option for small spaces as they require minimal effort and can be placed on balconies or in small corners. Here’s how they work:

  • Purchase a compost tumbler that suits your space limitations.
  • Add a balanced mix of organic waste, including kitchen scraps, yard waste, and shredded paper.
  • Rotate the tumbler regularly to aerate the compost and speed up decomposition.
  • Monitor the moisture levels and adjust as necessary, aiming for a damp but not soggy consistency.
  • Within a few weeks to a few months, depending on the conditions, you will have rich compost ready to use in your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I compost in an apartment without worms?

Absolutely! Bokashi composting is a great option for apartment dwellers who prefer not to work with worms. It utilizes beneficial microorganisms to ferment organic waste, producing nutrient-rich compost.

2. Will composting in my apartment create unpleasant odors?

No, if done correctly, composting in your apartment should not produce any unpleasant odors. Both vermicomposting and bokashi composting systems are designed to minimize odor when managed properly.

3. Can I compost meat and dairy products in my apartment?

Yes, bokashi composting is an ideal method for composting meat and dairy products, as the fermentation process breaks them down effectively. However, it’s important to bury the fermented waste in an outdoor compost pile or garden bed to complete the decomposition process.

4. How long does it take to get usable compost from a compost tumbler?

The time it takes to get usable compost from a compost tumbler can vary depending on factors such as the mix of organic waste, temperature, and moisture levels. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

5. Can I use compost produced in my apartment for indoor plants?

While compost produced in your apartment can be used for indoor plants, it’s important to ensure that it is fully matured and free from any potential pathogens. It’s recommended to use compost primarily in outdoor gardens or mix it with potting soil for indoor plants.

6. What can I do with excess liquid produced during bokashi composting?

The liquid produced during bokashi composting, known as bokashi tea, is a nutrient-rich liquid that can be diluted and used as a natural fertilizer for plants. Alternatively, it can be poured down the drain to help maintain healthy plumbing.


Living in an urban apartment doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits of composting. By utilizing small-space composting solutions like vermicomposting, bokashi composting, and compost tumblers, apartment dwellers can actively contribute to reducing waste, improving soil health