Home Composting for Apartment Dwellers

organic gardening composting

Living in an apartment building does not mean you can’t be environmentally friendly. Home composting is a great way to reduce waste, help the environment and increase your gardening potential. Many people believe that because they live in a small space they can’t have a home composting system. This is simply untrue. You can get in on this growing trend in eco-friendliness, regardless of where you live!

There are several options available to the apartment dweller. First, you should decide what kind of composting you are interested in. You may opt for the standard container compost, which consists of a bin of your choosing. You may choose a bin small enough for the counter top or you can hide it under a cupboard, in a closet or even on a balcony. The bin should have holes in it as well as a lid. Begin your compost bin by putting leaves, newspapers or soil in the bottom. You are then ready to add food scraps. After adding any scraps, you should mix it up with what is already in the bin to aerate it. Water should be added regularly to help break down the food and refuse.

Another option for apartment dwellers is vermicomposting. This option works best inside as it uses worms to help break down garbage. For vermicomposting, you can purchase a worm condo or as with the standard container compost you can build your own. Make sure whatever you choose has holes in it to allow for air circulation and drainage. Fill the bin with rich, damp soil and newspapers and place your worms inside, where they will burrow down and live off your food scraps creating vermicompost in about two to three months.

After you have your compost, use it for indoor gardens and enjoy the fruits of your labor or give it away to friends and family with garden. Whatever you decide, you are playing an active role in helping our environment.


Home gardeners swear by compost, and the practice is becoming more popular with green-minded people every year. Home-composting is currently at an all-time high, even within cities, where apartment dwellers are getting in on the trend. So, what are the different kinds of composting that one can do? All compost systems utilize three basic components: Moisture, heat and natural vegetation.

Basic Outdoor Composting
Basic compost combines dry material, green material, such as vegetable scraps, and a bedding material of shredded newsprint or cardboard. These three elements are then mixed together. The compost mixture is turned weekly and kept in a simple bin made of wire mesh with a lid allowing water and air to enter, while keeping pests out.

Multiple Bin Composting
This type of composting uses the same recipe as basic outdoor composting. The difference lies in the use of three separate bins. When starting out, all materials are placed in bin one. As the pile becomes smaller, the compost is moved to bin two. As the compost in bin two diminishes, it is moved to bin three. Bins can be replenished assuring a continual supply of compost.

Sheet Composting
Sheet, or lasagna, composting is done on top of the area where the garden will the placed. The method is done in layers. Shredded newspapers or cardboard is placed directly on top of the planting area, and then moistened. Leaves and scraps are placed on top. As the bedding smothers the grass, the debris on top begins to break down. Layers can continue to be added. At planting time, the sheet is turned over to reveal rich soil.

Indoor Composting
Indoor composting uses the elements of outdoor composting and brings them indoors by using a specialized automatic system. The system monitors moisture and temperature, and turns the compost automatically. In approximately two week, the compost is ready for use.

Also known as worm composting, this method makes incredibly rich compost in small batches. Using basic bedding materials and vegetable waste in a worm box, the worms eat through the vegetables and leave behind rich waste called casings. In three to four months, the vegetables have been eaten and rich, black compost remains.

Naturemill Composter

naturemill composter

This is the ideal gift idea for someone who you know wants to make the most of their organic kitchen waste. At just over $200 – it’s an extravagant gift, but one that will keep giving back for years to come. The Naturemill composter is the ideal way to get your gift recipient churning out their own rich soil easily and with no odor. It mixes automatically and has a slim profile perfect for tucking in a kitchen cabinet. The home composter can handle up to 80lbs (36 kg) capacity per month. It’s not rated for rain or snow, but can be used outdoors in a covered location, so keep it out on the covered balcony.

What NOT To Compost

home composting

Composting is a fabulous thing to do, and is finally becoming a trendy urban thing to do, with major cities now introducing composting programs for people that may not have a backyard.

So what can you compost? Tons of things – from garden lawn clippings, to raked leaves, to organic kitchen waste like vegetable peelings and coffee grinds. You can even compost shredded paper and toenail clippings.

Of course, there are quite a few things that CANNOT be composted, and throwing these things in the compost pile can be a deadly hazard:

Don’t compost any dead plants that have died from being infected by a disease or infested by insects. Diseased plants can spread the disease to your entire compost pile, and make for a big pile of unhealthy garbage.

Don’t compost meat or bones or anything that might attract vermin or maggots while its composting. Your compost pile could quickly turn into the next secret of Nimh.

Animal waste is a no-no for compost piles, and that includes the human animal. Dirty diapers are not for the compost pile, and neither are the contents of your cat’s litter box.

Finally, be very wary when composting weeds you have pulled from your garden. Morning glory/bindweed, sheep sorrel, ivy, several kinds of grasses, and some other plants can re-grow from their roots and/or stems in your compost pile.

Envirocycle Composter

envirocycle composter

With the EnviroCycle drum/turning bins compost may be finished in 4 – 6 weeks in a rotating drum composter! Easier to handle and easier to turn the drum for effortless rotation. Turning is simple. You need no mixing tools. To dump compost directly onto your soil or garden just latch the door and roll the drum off the base and into your garden. Remove the door so you can dump the compost right where you want it.. Approximate 120 to 156 degrees interior temperature. This home composter is perfect for garden lawn and kitchen refuse.

Indoor Kitchen Composter

indoor kitchen composter

The Indoor Kitchen Composter is the indoor home composting system you need to to recycle kitchen waste into organic soil fertilizer. The most effective method of fermenting is through fermentation without oxygen. This process prepares the food scraps for compost readiness in less than half the time of conventional composting methods. You can place the Indoor Kitchen Composter under your sink or in a closet and it does not create terrible odors. This is the perfect composter for people in apartments as well.

Mantis ComposT-Twin Garden Compost Bins


The Mantis ComposT-Twin Garden Compost Bins hold up to 25 cubic feet of raw material in each chamber. Home composting is made easy! You simply dd your compost materials to one of the chambers, turn the padded handle to spin the drum and within weeks you’ll have rich and vital fertilizer for your garden and yard. The bins are fully enclosed and elevated to keep rodents, pets and other wildlife out.

NatureMill Home Composter

naturemill home composter

The NatureMill home composter provides an endless supply of organic compost. You just plug it in, drop in your waste, and let the automatic composter go to work. An upper chamber mixes, heats, and aerates. Compost is then transferred to the lower chamber to be removed so you can continually toss in your waste. Use it for vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper, and even dairy, meat or fish. The energy efficient motor uses only 10 watts of power.

Automatic Composter

automatic composter

This Automatic Composter is easy to use, there is no smell, no mess, and no need to build new landfills. This Automatic Composter provides an endless supply of organic compost. All you have to do is plug it in and drop in your waste and let the automatic composter go to work. Use it for vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper, and even dairy, meat or fish. Also comes with an energy efficient motor.

How To Start A Compost Pile

home composting pile

Start with a layer of leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste (banana peels, eggshells, withered lettuce, fruit cores, coffee grounds, etc.) Keep adding materials until you have a six-inch layer, then cover it with three to six inches of soil, manure, or finished compost.

Alternate layers of organic matter and layers of soil or manure until the pile is about three feet tall. A pile that is three feet tall by three feet square will generate enough heat during decomposition to sterilize the compost. This makes it useful as a potting soil, topdressing for lawns, or soil-improving additive.

Keep the pile in a shaded area to keep it from drying out. Make an indentation in the top to hold water and sprinkle with a garden hose when it appears dry. Keep it moist, but not wet. When your compost is ready, it can be mixed into the soil before planting or applied to the surface of the soil as a mulch.