How To Compost Indoors

Composting is a great way to be more environmentally friendly. Too much of our food waste ends up in landfills, where it is unable to decompose due to lack of light, air and moisture. Turn your home into a more self-sustaining place with an indoor compost bin! When managed properly, an indoor compost bin won’t smell, it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it saves you a trip from having to walk outside to your outdoor compost pile every time you peel a banana or make some coffee.


How to build your own

There are lots of different bins you can buy. Some use electricity or a special mix to increase the rate at which your food scraps decompose. However there are also bins that are quite simply designed, and which you can replicate with just a few household items. Here’s how:


1.) Find the space and a container

First, decide where you want your indoor compost to go. If you have pets or small children, up next to the kitchen sink might be best. If you’re short on counter space, below the kitchen sink might work better. Then, find a container with a cover that fits in your allotted space. Your container can be plastic or metal.


2.) Poke holes in the top

Depending on whether you decide on a plastic or metal container, you’ll need either a hammer and nails or a drill to punch holes through the lid of your container. This will allow air to get to your mix and help the food decompose. Holes about the diameter of a pencil eraser should suffice.


3.) Add newspaper to the top.

The number one way to keep odors from leaking out is to add newspaper to the underside of the lid. (This works best if your bin is dome-shaped.) Crumple up some wads of dry newspaper and stuff it in the lid. If it doesn’t stay by itself, try crisscrossing and then taping some fishing line or dental floss across the bottom of the lid (so that it forms a grid pattern.) This will allow you space to add newspaper periodically without having it fall all the time.


4.) Start composting!

Put your compost bin into its designated area, and you’re all set! All you have to do now is add food scraps when you have them. Food scraps can include fruit and vegetable scraps such as banana peels, carrot shavings and lemon rinds, and other things around your kitchen such as coffee grounds and their filters, egg shells, tea bags and dying flowers.


It’s full! What do I do?

Once your bin gets full, you’ll need to empty it. If you have a backyard compost pile, add the contents of the indoor bin to the pile, including the newspaper in the lid. Then rinse out the indoor bin, allow it to dry, add more fresh, dry newspaper and starting filling it up again. If you don’t have a yard or an outdoor compost, look around your neighborhood for community gardens, co-ops or other collecting programs that could benefit from your compost. Most cities now have such programs that help can you reduce your food waste.


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