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Does it make sense to compost indoors in an apartment? Answered

Or do you really need a big pile or bin outside in a yard? I imagine it would smell too strongly to keep inside.



Best Answer 9 years ago

I do worm composting inside my apartment with no problem, but it took a little troubleshooting. I use an outer bin and an inner bin. The outer bin is a big airtight Rubbermaid container, like people use to store clothes in a basement or something. Inside this bin is a slightly smaller plastic bin, with lots of holes drilled in the bottom for drainage, raised up a few inches off the floor of the outer container with some old yogurt containers. That way the worm's home stays dry. Every so often I pour off the water-compost sludge that collects on the bottom (it's good fertilizer!). I keep it outside on the porch when it's not freezing out, but in winter it comes inside. It smells a bit when you open it, but not too badly (it's a smell not a stench), and doesn't smell a bit when its' closed. Don't put citrus peels in there, though, or you risk fruit fly infestation of doom (learned from experience, that one). It's best to start it outside, on a porch or something, if you can. If the worms don't like their environment they will escape en mass. This is only likely to be a problem in the beginning, if you don't give them enough normal dirt. (Yes, I also learned this one from experience. I recommend rubber gloves, it makes the experience of handling the things a little less icky.) Hm, maybe I should do an instructable on the subject... except I have no "during" photos... perhaps I can convince a friend that they need a worm bin too.

lets bad idea first of all bugs second of all smell like sh*t and 3rd of all IT'LL be cool dude u should do it

Yes, yes, yes! You can compost indoors. Like Goodgnus said, you can compost using worms (vermicomposting) very easily inside your home. There are other alternatives for indoor composting as well. You can read more about composting at www.green-living-made-easy.com. Whatever you do, don't let being in an apartment stop you!

Well, I wouldn't recomend it: 1. Bugs 2. The Stench 3. It is dirty 4.... 5.... 6.... But if it is a machine that you build that is air sealed, why not, and if you have a room to spare to seal it too. :D

Unless it is in a sealed system of some sort, you Will have a bug problem.

Well, the worms would completely gross me out. We use a biodegradable bag and leave the contents for the recycle truck to pick up. Then, if I need soil,I can pick it up at the local recycling facility and get the 'new soil" for free

A new program like that is just starting up in my area (it's been going for a few months). It's actually rather nasty IMO. I've gotten the hang of tossing former edibles into the "green bin" but the bin itself gets so gross after a week I'm starting to second guess my commitment to this program. I am seriously considering vermicomposting, though I have little use for the resulting dirt...

Hmmm that's too bad. We get the plastic type (not really plastic) biodegradable bags and have had no trouble. Look for the authentic certification stamps on the bags. The paper ones are just too nasty and they do make a big mess :0)

That would certainly be an improvement. The paper bags are really a nuisance, and expensive, too!

The bags I'm talking about aren't cheap either. Some of my friends buy the "Dollar Store" ones, but I find them on the small side, so I spring for the brand name at Wally World (WalMart) You can also put a piece of folded paper towel on the bottom of the bin to absorb any moisture. I use the small kitchen size bin and then transfer the little bio bags to one large biodegradable bag that gets recycled. some of my friends sprinkle a little baking soda on top of the paper towel, but I haven't found it necessary-absolutely no odor :0)

You can by these compost compactor bins that have worms and bacteria in them-they're small and they need to be emptied frequently (emptied of the soil it turns your waste into). Look into it at the Smart Home and The Museum of Science and Industry-Chicago

i would keep it outside ( i don't like the idea of having live micro organisms in my house) (Not that my house it super clean)


9 years ago

I use an indoor kitchen compostindoor kitchen compost. It uses anerobic bacteria to ferment the food waste. Its basically a pail with a spigot, you add your kitchen scraps and sprinkle the Bokashi (contains the bacteria) over it and keep the pail sealed. You will need to drain it every so often, this gives a nice compost tea to fertilize (dilute it first) plants.

With the lid closed, you won't smell it at all, when you open it, it smells pickled rather then rotten. Though I do keep it outside on my balcony.

When the pail is full, you need to bury it, this can pose a problem for apartment dwellers. What I do is have large rubbermaid container and put the fermented kitchen waste on the bottom and cover it will soil (also newspaper, leaves etc.) After about 2 weeks you have really nice compost. I usually end up giving it away to friends for their gardens.

I think the most important thing to control smell is an aeration system of some kind, worms or a crank on the side of the box to turn the contents daily. Also, no animal fats, meat, etc. should go in there. I don't know if this would work but maybe a sock filled with activated charcoal or baking soda could take some odor.

If you are doing vermicomposting, it shouldn't smell.

this page is a great resource for information that I have used in the past.

Doing it on a small scale indoors won't be enough to start a garden in the backyard, but should give you enough compost for a couple of planters.


9 years ago

I agree about the worm method - we tried doing normal composting method in a giant pretzel tub, but not only did not work, it gave off some pretty foul drafts every so often. One thing to watch out for is the hydration of the compost, our was often too soupy.

I've started composting in one of those really large plastic tubs with lids on my porch. I don't think you want the smell of rotting food *inside* your apartment. :)

You want to compost using worms instead of normal composting methods. Google vermicomposting and vermiculture. This can be done under your kitchen sink even! It's quite popular with the apt crowd.