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How to Build a Great Compost Bin for a Small Apartment

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Just because people are confined to apartments doesn’t mean they have to give up on their environmentally-friendly ways or their recycling inclinations. We can grow our food in apartments, on the fire escape and in the windowsill. We can grow herbs on the side of the fridge and even convert a bicycle-hanging rack into green growing space. There’s got to be a way to compost our organic waste to make our own soil for that bicycle-hanging rack plant conglomerate, right?

Basics

Composting takes several key items – some sort of container, a safe space, and lots of yummy organic material to decompose. Assessing the size of the space is key, because the indoor composter needs some dark space to just rest and relax. The nice apartments we live in have some rules about what we can put on the porch, which I thought automatically excluded us from a composter – but turns out they actually thrive inside. Gross though it may seem, it has to have warm, dark, conditions for all of the organic matter to break down. The container has to have a lid, so keep that in mind when picking a space as well (under the kitchen sink seems to be a pretty good place). Also, there has to be some holes punched in the container, so make sure there are appropriate tools for that as well. Usually, having some sort of drip pan is important, to catch spilled soil and occasionally some liquids. We want to make sure we get that deposit back, after all. Plastic containers stacked on one another or small tin trash cans are a popular route.

To worm or not to worm…

That is the question. And when I say worm, I’m talking about those actual living little critters that scurry down in the dirt. For anyone wondering, yes, we order them off of the internet and they get delivered by UPS or Fedex or the USPS. Worms on the doorstep, bada bing, bada boom. However, some people don’t like to use worms inside. No way is right or wrong, but it’s important to do some upfront research and make the decision before starting on the composting project. Also, what goes into the composter at the beginning of the project is different for those using worms vs those not using worms.

No matter what the container is, or whether or not there are worms in it, the purpose of a composter is to break down organic matter like food, egg shells, and tea bags. Don’t worry – if the composter is correctly maintained, it won’t have a foul smell. Don’t think of it so much as rotting; rather, it’s creating soil from food – much like is done in nature.

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