My humble kitchen compost bin. It quietly works in the background while my trash jar and recycling bin get all the glory. But today, my kitchen compost bin is finally getting the recognition it deserves! 😀
Did you know that organic materials create methane gas—a greenhouse gas 20-100 times more potent than carbon dioxide—when they’re simply thrown away?! That’s because organic material (like food scraps, grass clippings, yard waste, etc.) can’t decompose properly in the landfill since there’s no oxygen. 🙁
The solution? Composting! About one third of household waste is compostable. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city that has a municipal curbside composting program, participate! If not, compost your household organic yourself (read about my composting system below). Even if you personally don’t have a need for the resulting soil, you could easily give it away to someone who does!
I store my kitchen compost bin (formerly my kitchen trash can) right under my sink for easy access. I couldn’t have a tiny trash can without it! It might not be the prettiest thing to look at, but at least it’s not stinky! 😆
My composting system
- First, I line the bottom of my 10-gallon kitchen compost bin with a few inches of “browns” to absorb moisture and odors (no plastic here!). You can use shredded office paper, newspaper, cardboard, egg cartons or similar material.
- I dispose of fruit/veggie scraps, coffee grounds, floor sweepings, silk dental floss, etc., in this bin. Because most of the contents are wet, this kitchen compost bin can get pretty heavy. If at any point you notice an unpleasant odor, it probably means your compost is out of balance. Add some more brown material like paper, cardboard, etc. Keeping a lid on it also helps 😉
- Once full (or heavy), I dump it into my backyard compost bin. This is a good time to stir the contents of the backyard compost to keep it aerated. If you have a compost tumbler, give it a good spin 🙂
- I rinse out the empty kitchen compost bin in my backyard using water from my rain barrel or garden hose (that way the grass can benefit from the water and flushed organic material). Ironically, it’s only when my compost bin is empty that it smells bad! 😝 After a good rinse, I leave it outside in the sun to dry to help neutralize any remaining odors.
- Once it’s clean, I bring the bin back inside and start the cycle again. With my setup, the compost is good to use as a soil amendment after about one year. It takes closer to two years before I have something resembling soil. That might be because composting slows down considerably during the long winter months here in Quebec, Canada!
4 thoughts on “How to compost”
A friend of mine is looking for a composting solution for apartment living and no city composting. She does not a backyard compost bin to dump kitchen waste into. Is there an alternative for her? Thank you!
Hi! When I lived in an apartment, I got permission from my landlord to put a compost bin in the back of the building. That might be an option that would allow all residents to participate in compost, making a big impact! Since we were in an urban area (and the compost bin would be on asphalt), I chose a tumbler-style compost bin so we wouldn’t have issues with animals 😉 If she has a balcony, should could put a tumbler composter there as well.
It would also be worth checking if private composting services are available in your friend’s city since there’s no municipal composting. Friends of mine in the Chicago-area hire a private company to pick up their compost weekly for $10/month.
Depending on where she lives, there might be drop-off places where she can bring her organic materials for composting. She could also ask around to see if any of her friends or relatives have a backyard and/or compost bin that she can contribute to. In these cases, she’d probably want to keep her compostables in the freezer until she could drop them off to prevent them from decomposing too soon (and becoming stinky).
If she wants to start her own composting system, she could try vermicomposting (a.k.a. a worm bin). I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ve had other readers/followers share their positive experiences 🙂
Hope this helps!
Hola, por fin he podido leer tu post jijiji, la única duda que me queda una vez que ya lo pones en el jardín y lo mezclas con la tierra cuento tiempo tiene que pasar para que este la composta lista para usarse en las plantas? te platico que vivo en Chiapas México, calculo que aquí la temperatura mínima será de 14°C y bueno máximas de hasta 42°C, ahora que es invierno estamos en un promedio de 25°C como dato curioso solo donde vivo pasa así jijiji. Crees que podrías orientarme en cuanto tiempo será que este lista para usarse?
Te agradezco de antemano por leerme…
Espero que se encuentren bien de salud.
¡Hola Eva! Dado que hace más calor en el lugar donde vives, supongo que tomaría alrededor de un año tener abono.