Doing your own composting in the home can be a convenient way to dispose of kitchen waste in a sustainable way. In addition, this also enables environmentally friendly and cost-free production of organic fertilizer for garden soil or houseplants. Accordingly, this will reduce your environmental impact and provide valuable nutrients for your home or garden plants. Although this can seem like a challenge at first, there are some simple steps you can follow to make your own compost. Below are instructions that can help you accomplish this DIY project.
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Before you consider composting in the apartment
Many urban dwellers are hesitant to start composting because of concerns about the impact of putting food scraps in a bin and letting them decompose for several months. Logically, there is also the question of whether composting between four walls will actually attract vermin. In addition, you may wonder if the resulting odors will overpower your living spaces.
The truth is, with the right setup, it’s entirely possible to compost in an apartment. You won’t have to sacrifice too much space, cause an insect invasion, or expose yourself and your guests to unpleasant odors to do so, either. However, to be successful, you should first understand what compost is, what you can compost in an apartment, and how to create compost bins suitable for indoor use yourself.
What waste you can compost at home
As mentioned above, indoor composting is a great way to turn food scraps and some household waste into black gold. This can be a useful addition to your outdoor garden or indoor houseplants. However, again, it’s important to know which scraps are compostable to avoid odors, mold and waste failure. Here are some of the most common materials that are suitable for this purpose:
Vegetable scraps, human hair, nail clippings, paper coffee grounds and filters, vegetable and fruit peels, stale bread, grass clippings, fresh or dried leaves, shredded newspaper, corn on the cob, torn cardboard boxes, cooked pasta or rice, and egg shells.
You probably noticed that meat, bones, dairy products and fats are missing from the list of compostable items. It is generally not recommended to add these food wastes to a composter.
The use of animal products can cause bad odors in such a composter, as well as attract insects and rodents. Nevertheless, there are new methods of composting in the home with such composters, such as the Bokashi bucket .
Use suitable containers as composters
There are a number of options, including using a worm bin, a bokashi bucket, or an electronic composter. However, many people will find that a simple plastic bin compost bin is the easiest and cheapest way to get started.
In addition, for composting in the apartment is not necessary to use a special plastic container. However, this should have a lid. Also, for the method described in this article, you will also need two containers of the same size. Choose the size of the bins based on the space you have available. In addition, also remember that you should keep such a compost bin in a dark area with room temperature. A popular place for this is the area under a sink, but a laundry or utility closet could work just as well.
Here’s how to compost indoors
After you decide to have a composter in your home, you’ll need some materials and tools to make the whole thing. These include a drill, two plastic buckets or containers with tight-fitting lids, sawdust and potting soil. Follow the steps outlined below to make the project.
- First, drill several holes around the top of one of the plastic containers on each side. The exact size of the hole is not important, but each hole should be about 2.5 to 7.6 inches apart. These holes allow airflow, which is essential to the decomposition process.
- Next, drill holes on the bottom of the container as well. The number of holes depends on its size, but aim for an even distribution across the bottom. These holes will allow liquid to drain into the second plastic container. Also known as compost tea, you can dispose of the liquid or use it to fertilize plants.
- Then fill the container with soil.
- First, place the plastic container with holes in the second plastic container.
- Fill the top container with a few inches of soil and then add dry, absorbent material such as newspaper shavings or sawdust.
- Add soil to compost in the plastic bin and again top off with absorbent material.
Your composter is now ready for use. Add organic waste to the top bin of your composter. Be sure to add newspaper or sawdust to absorb excess moisture and prevent mold or odors. Cover your composter with the lid after adding material. Periodically clean newspaper strips that you have placed on top of food scraps in the compost bin. Empty the second liquid container and clean it to prevent mold or odors.
The composter will need at least a couple of months to completely break down the waste. Depending on the amount of waste you have added to the composter, you may need to keep a second set of containers on hand to hold compostable waste while the waste in the first set is still being processed.
What you can use your compost for
Compost is very useful as a soil amendment for your garden or for potted plants. Studies show that it can improve drainage, promote beneficial bacteria and attract earthworms. Once your compost is ready, you can add it directly to your garden soil or store it in a container and add it to your houseplants as needed. Plus, the liquid produced from indoor composting is full of nutrients. Many people use this to fertilize houseplants or for garden plants.