In-Apartment Composting

Keeping compost in your apartment might not sound particularly appealing, in fact, it might sound kind of disgusting. But as more urbanites embrace the growing concern over food waste, countertop composting is a trend, that with plenty of options popping up to make the habit more indoor friendly.

The Associated Press recently looked into the growing “countertop composting” trend and offered a few different suggestions for people who live without the luxury of a backyard to get into the composting game.

“Vermicomposting” is considered the cheapest in-home composting method. If that “vermi-“ prefix looks familiar, you’re not wrong. It comes from the Latin word “vermis” that means “worm,” and after you’re finished with the setup, worms are the ones doing all the work.

"It sounds gross, but they can eat a half pound of fruit and vegetable bits, eggshells and coffee grounds a day, and if you manage the composter well you should forget it's even there," Teddy Tedesco, project manager for the New York City Compost Project, told the AP. New York City even offers composting workshops, known as “wormshops,” and offers discounts on worm bin kits. Those not in NYC can easily purchase vermicompost bins online or even make one themselves.

A more expensive option is to purchase an electronic composter. These devices, like ones made by Nature Mill, provide heat and keep your compost moving to take advantage of natural bacteria. They’re also small and convenient, but aren’t necessarily cheap, costing a few hundred dollars or more. However, unlike worm-based composting, electric composters are more versatile in what you can put into them: meat, dairy and even some grains and vegetables can cause odors in vermicomposts, whereas electric composters won’t have that problem.

Of course, whether you’re adverse to worms, or even just having compost in your apartment, most urban areas now offer drop off or even pick up that allow you to leave your composting to the professionals. According to the U.S. Composting Council, compostable items make up 14 percent of all waste, so matter how you plan on getting into it, composting is an environmentally-friendly idea.