How to Compost Indoors & Why We All Should
September 26, 2019 Joaquín Hernández and Cristina Villalón
Garbage pile in landfill.

COMPOSTING REDUCES THE WASTE WE CREATE.

The average American generates 4.4 pounds of garbage a day. If you do the math: 4.4 X 365 = 1606 pounds per person per year. 285 million people in the US = 457,710 Million pounds of trash per year. This is completely unsustainable. We will soon be covered in trash if we don’t put our collective actions to work.

No matter where you live, indoor composting is an easy and efficient way to reduce the amount of trash we each generate. It’s also the cheapest, organic fertilizer for our plants! Store your compost bin under the sink or on the counter for easy access, and composting will become part of your daily routine in no time.

If you’re new to composting and a little overwhelmed by the concept, don’t stress out. We’ve put together this simple guide that will have you reducing your waste in no time.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • A container with a lid to store your compost.
  • Something to make holes in your container’s lid (drill, hammer, nail, scissors, etc.).
  • A tray to place under your container.
  • Something to cover your tray so it doesn’t get ruined when composting.
  • A bag of soil.
  • Newspapers or paper towels.
  • Kitchen scraps (banana peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc.).

STEP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT CONTAINER FOR YOU

You can purchase a compost bin specifically for composting but really any container can become a compost bin. You can use anything from plastic storage bins, 5-gallon buckets, to wooden drawers, crates or boxes.

These options come in different sizes, are stackable, easy to get, and inexpensive. If you don’t already have one of these containers lying around in your home somewhere, you can get them at your nearest home store.

STEP 2: LOCATION

Choose where you want to place your indoor compost bin; under the sink, on the counter, or anywhere you can easily manage & see it.

STEP 3: VENTILATION

Drill or punch evenly spaced holes in the lid of the container for ventilation and to help regulate airflow. Air is necessary to allow the materials in your bin to breakdown.

STEP 4: TRAY

Cover your tray with something that can get dirty, such as an old towel, and place the compost bin on top of it to prevent the area from getting stained or ruined.

STEP 5:  SOIL & PAPER

Add soil to the container and fill it up less than halfway. Next, layer some shredded newspaper on top or paper towels, so that flies or other small insects don’t get inside. Paper towels without grease or chemicals will decompose quickly in a compost bin, especially after getting wet. They are made of a carbon rich material and can also be a substitute for leaves if you are running low.

Close-up of shredded document paper scraps.

STEP 6: KITCHEN SCRAPS

As you generate kitchen scraps such as weltered flowers, banana peels, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps or eggshells, add them to the bin. It’s best to break these scraps down into small pieces for them to decompose faster. Avoid adding grease, fats, meats, bones and dairy products to your compost pile since they can produce a bad odor and attract uninvited rodents.

Knowing what to put in a compost bin, and what to avoid will make your composting experience more successful.

Keep in mind that you want to maintain a wet & dry balance in your compost bin. Don’t let it completely dry out. A compost pile needs moisture to keep the composting process active so add water when you see it getting too dry. You can also add some shredded newspaper or paper towels each time you add scraps.

Don’t let it get too wet so that it gets soggy and starts to stink. Just as too dry is bad, too wet is also something that you should avoid. If the bin starts to smell bad it means the balance is off and that you may need to add more paper or add extra holes to the lid. It sounds harder than it is! Don’t get discouraged! Play with it and see what works!

STEP 7: STIR

Make sure you stir your pile with a half scoop of new soil at least once a week to aerate oxygen into the mixture. Again, keeping contents in the pile small speeds up the breaking-down process, (paper towel scraps, newspaper scraps etc.). Also, be sure to put the lid back on tightly to avoid attracting unwanted pests!

STEP 8: WAIT & START PLANTING!

You will know when your compost is ready when your scraps are broken down into small pieces and the soil has a dark rich color. Once you have your compost, use it to start planting or to fertilize the houseplants that you already have. Then watch as your plants grow!

At AD&V we have our own compost bin. Scraps are placed inside and mixed in with fallen leaves, paper towels, and soil. This mixture is then filtered out through holes at the bottom. Which goes directly into our compost bin drawer, creating the compost with the broken-down scraps & soil we use for planting. Like the lovely flowers and growing avocado tree from our Urban Garden!

Take a look at our composting process & get inspired to start your own:

Composting is not hard and once you get the hang of it, there’s really nothing to it. We need to get past the intimidation factor and start doing something great for our planet.

Now that you know why we all should be composting, start today! We know you can do it!

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