Composting is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. But when you live in a space without your own yard, it can be hard to keep up a traditional compost heap without bothering the neighbors. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to take composting indoors. All you need are a few basic materials, and you'll have an easy way to make use of your food waste.
1. Find a place indoors or on a private porch that your compost won't be bothered. Apartment Therapy recommends an area under the sink because it's both large and completely out of the way.
2. Pick a container to fit your space. About.com recommends items such as plastic storage bins and five-gallon buckets. Your imagination is the limit here, but make sure you have something that can be closed. You're going to want to keep critters out and the smells in. If you're composting properly, it shouldn't smell too bad. You can also buy containers made especially for indoor composting online.
3. Let it breathe. Compost needs air in order to break down. TLC recommends drilling small holes in the top and the side of whatever you're composting in.
4. Add dirt. Apartment Therapy recommends first adding a little bit of dirt and then a layer of “dry stuff.” This can be newspaper, leaves, branches, straw or sawdust.
5. Start composting. Don't just start throwing random items into the bucket. Sustainable America says meat, bones, pet feces, weeds, dairy, citrus fruit and any unnatural ingredients should stay out of your compost and go into the garbage. But most other things are fair game. Fruit and vegetable matter, yard waste, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells and many other biodegradable items can go into your compost.
6. Get your ratio right. About.com recommends using specific ratios of “green” to “brown” material. “Green” ingredients include wet items such as fruits and vegetables and tea bags. “Browns” include more dry ingredients such as shredded paper and coffee grounds. The site recommends having a 4:1 ratio of brown to green matter in order to keep the compost breaking down.
7. Stir. Apartment Therapy recommends you stir the compost once a week and add new dirt occasionally. This will help to hasten the decomposition process. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, a properly managed pile takes about two months to turn into compost.
8. Get some worms. If you're not grossed out by the idea of having tons of worms inside of your home, you can also vermicompost, a method of composting that uses worms to break down food waste. This method works faster than traditional composting and leaves you with a nice fertilizer. Sustainable America has a great guide here.