When you think of composting, you might picture stinky piles that take up a ton of room. If you're an apartment-dweller, you may be wondering if you can compost without a yard. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to compost that won't make your apartment smelly or take up a lot of room. We'll walk you through several methods—you're sure to find one that will work for your place!

1

Set up a countertop compost bin.

  1. Before you even decide what to do with all your food scraps, you've got to store them somewhere in your kitchen. Shop for a small bin that you can set on the counter or under a sink. Many models include biodegradable bags to make cleanup easy, or charcoal filters to minimize the smell.[1]
    • Keep in mind that you're not actually creating compost in a countertop bin. The bin is just a handy place to keep scraps while they're in your kitchen. Then, you can transfer them to a small tumbler on your balcony or donate them to a community garden.
    • If you don't want to buy a countertop bin, use an old ice cream bucket that has a lid you can snap shut.
  2. Advertisement
2

Use a large bucket composting system.

  1. Place the bucket in a kitchen closet or on a small patio so it's out of the way. Then, gradually fill your bucket with food scraps and dry brown materials like shredded paper or cardboard.[2] You will need to water the compost whenever it looks dry, but bucket composting is a simple system that doesn't take much space.[3]
3

Try the Bokashi method of composting.

4

Set up a worm bin.

  1. [6] Place 1 pound (450 g) of red wiggler worms in a big storage container and provide moist shredded cardboard. Then, toss your food scraps into the tote. The worms feed on the scraps and produce castings or poop that you can add to the soil for container plants. It's a fantastic method for apartment-dwellers![7]
    • Shop for red wigglers online or ask a friend who has a worm bin already set up. Just ensure that you don't get an invasive worm species like the Asian Jumping worm, Alabama Jumper worm, or George Jumper worm.[8]
    • Plan on feeding the worms about 1 pint of waste at a time. Once the worms break that down, you can feed them again.
    • Worm compost bins usually resemble plastic trays. You can keep them in either an indoor or outdoor space.[9]
5

Try an electric countertop food digester.

  1. Although this method doesn't make compost, it reduces food waste volume by 90%. Put food scraps into your electric digester. It heats, chops, and dries the scraps, so you're left with a powdery substance. You can sprinkle this on soil if you've got a balcony, or you can put it in the trash.[10]
    • This is a good option for people who don't want to produce compost, but who are looking to cut back on food waste that ends up in the landfill.
  2. Advertisement
8

  1. Many groups love having great compost material, so you'll probably find several takers! Community gardens usually accept material, and you could even ask farmers at weekly farmer's markets if they'd like it.[13]
    • If transportation is an issue, ask the local group if you could set out buckets of your compostable materials for them to pick up.
    • If you're open to donating your compost to an individual rather than a local organization, join ShareWaste and look for hosts in your local area![14]
9

Use a municipal composting service.

  1. Some cities are attempting to make it easier for residents to compost, especially if they don't have access to space. Talk with your landlord or call the waste company and ask if they accept food scraps for compost. If they do, you'll probably need to put the material in a sealable bag and place it in a specific bin for compost pickup.[15]
    • If your city or apartment building doesn't offer this service, urge them to adopt it! Ask friends and fellow apartment-dwellers to email or call, so it's easier to get everyone involved in composting.
  2. Advertisement
10

Pay for private composting service.

  1. If you don't have composting options in your city, don't stress! Research private companies that offer residential service pick-up. Usually, you'll pay a small fee and the company gives you a container to put your compost in.[16] Depending on how often you schedule pick up, they'll pick up your compost every week or two.
    • Talk with your neighbors or friends who also live in your apartment and ask if anyone has a composting service. They may have offers for you or all of you might be able to share a subscription.

Expert Q&A

  • Question
    How do I get rid of the smell in my compost?
    Artemisia Nursery
    Artemisia Nursery
    Plant Nursery & Garden Shop
    Artemisia Nursery is a retail plant nursery in Northeast Los Angeles specializing in California native plants. Artemisia Nursery is a worker-owned small business with plans to become a worker-owned cooperative. In addition to California native plants, Artemisia Nursery offers a selection of succulents, heirloom veggie and herb starts, house plants, pottery, and gardening tools and supplies. Drawing on the knowledge of the founders, Artemisia Nursery also offers consultations, designs, and installations.
    Artemisia Nursery
    Plant Nursery & Garden Shop
    Expert Answer
    Make sure it gets plenty of airflow! Compost systems without good aeration lead to anaerobic decomposition, which is very, very stinky. Compost systems with good aeration use aerobic decomposition, which smells a lot better.
Advertisement

References

  1. https://www.thekitchn.com/best-compost-bins-23019461
  2. Artemisia Nursery. Plant Nursery & Garden Shop. Expert Interview. 7 August 2020.
  3. https://extension.uga.edu/content/dam/extension-county-offices/bartow-county/mgev/trainees/Composting.pdf
  4. Artemisia Nursery. Plant Nursery & Garden Shop. Expert Interview. 7 August 2020.
  5. https://www.natureswayresources.com/nl/176IndoorComposting.pdf
  6. Artemisia Nursery. Plant Nursery & Garden Shop. Expert Interview. 7 August 2020.
  7. Kathryn Kellogg. Sustainability Specialist. Expert Interview. 28 June 2019.
  8. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/how-create-and-maintain-indoor-worm-composting-bin
  9. Artemisia Nursery. Plant Nursery & Garden Shop. Expert Interview. 7 August 2020.

About This Article

Artemisia Nursery
Co-authored by:
Plant Nursery & Garden Shop
This article was co-authored by Artemisia Nursery and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson. Artemisia Nursery is a retail plant nursery in Northeast Los Angeles specializing in California native plants. Artemisia Nursery is a worker-owned small business with plans to become a worker-owned cooperative. In addition to California native plants, Artemisia Nursery offers a selection of succulents, heirloom veggie and herb starts, house plants, pottery, and gardening tools and supplies. Drawing on the knowledge of the founders, Artemisia Nursery also offers consultations, designs, and installations. This article has been viewed 20,009 times.
14 votes - 100%
Co-authors: 12
Updated: July 23, 2022
Views: 20,009
Advertisement