Indoor composting for the backyard-challenged


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Think composting is just for those with a backyard? Think again. Composting is possible whether you live on two acres of land or in a tiny studio apartment. All you need is some motivation and the right tools.

If you are an urban dweller, or simply don’t have enough space for an outdoor compost pile, you can buy your own (it doesn’t get much easier than that). This website offers a wide selection of options.  Or, you can put on your DIY hat and make your own. Here’s how, courtesy of EPA.gov:

  • Drill ½-inch holes in the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can.
  • Get a larger garbage can, place a brick at the bottom surrounded with a layer of wood chips or soil.
  • Place smaller can inside on top of the brick.
  • Wrap insulation around the outer can to keep the compost warm.
  • Cover the whole thing with a lid.

Using this method, your compost should be ready in two to five weeks. And according to the EPA, if properly managed, your bin will not smell or attract pests.

If you are fortunate enough to have a large enough backyard, click here for the EPA’s tips on outdoor composting.

Whether indoor or outdoor composting, make sure your bin always contains a good mix of materials including dead leaves, branches, twigs, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grinds and water.

Now that you got your compost bin all set up, it’s important to know what is compostable. Here’s a short list of some of the more surprising options courtesy of the EPA:

  • Dryer lint
  • Coffee filters
  • Cotton rags
  • Eggshells
  • Hair and fur

The following items should never go in your compost bin:

  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
  • Coal or charcoal ash
  • Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides

For more information on composting, click here.

Not feeling DIY composting? Don’t worry, many cities and towns now offer compost collections. Just be sure to keep your scraps in the freezer to prevent smell and rot, or try a compost collector. We like this one from Full Circle.

Do you have some compost tips? Share them below.