Maybe you are an environmentalist at heart and want to do your part for the world. Maybe you’re an indoor plant mom and wish you could turn your food waste into compost for your plants. Or maybe you live in a place where you have to pay extra for garbage collection and you are wondering if you could get rid of that extra bill. Whatever the motive, you came to find out how to compost in an apartment and if this would even be possible. And I am here to tell you, yes, it most definitely is.
Most people trying to compost indoors maybe only consider worm composting vs bokashi composting, but there are actually three options. If you are trying to determine how to compost indoors your best indoor composting option would be:
- Bokashi composting
- Vermicomposting (composting with earthworms)
- Using a kitchen tabletop composter
Table of Contents
Bokashi composting is an anaerobic composting method that uses a group of bacteria to break down waste. Bokashi composting is a bit of a misnomer. It isn’t entirely a composting method in the traditional sense. It is a long fermentation process (approximately 4 weeks) followed by a rapid decomposition process (another 2 weeks). The great thing about bokashi composting is that it is very low maintenance. Your bokashi bucket could easily fit out of the way under your kitchen sink.
Another great thing about bokashi? You can compost just about anything. Meat, bones, and cooked food can all go into the bin. Just avoid putting liquids oily foods or into your bokashi bin. If you’ve never heard about bokashi composting before we’ve explained it in detail in this article.
|Kitchen Compost Buckets with A Spout||Bokashi Compost Starter Kit||Exaco Urban Composter|
Most bokashi bins will take about 2 weeks to fill, after which you need to set it aside for 2 weeks. To use this method consistently you will require 2 bins. As your waste ferments in your bokashi bin will produce a dark liquid, known as bokashi tea. This can be diluted 20 to 1 with water and used on your house plants or simply poured down the drain. The microbes in your bokashi tea won’t harm the environment and will continue working to break down any food waste that may be clogging up your drains. Bonus! All-natural FREE drain cleaner.
The challenge with composting indoors using this method is the final stage of burying the waste. After setting aside the waste for 2 weeks the last step involves burying it in the soil. Here soil food web organisms such as bacteria, fungi and earthworms break down the waste into the organic matter plants can use. If you have some outdoor space you can bury it there. If not the alternative would be to combine it with our next indoor composting option, worm composting.
Earthworms have 2 very important functions
- Aerating the soil
- break down organic matter in the soil
For our purpose, the latter of the 2 is the most important. There are options you can buy to house your worms indoors. Worms will live happily in the right environment and are pretty simple creatures. As long as they have enough moisture, bedding and airflow. If you’re new to worm composting you can have a look at an overview here or, if you are looking for a more detailed article that covers everything you need to know we have that available here.
Maintaining a worm composting system is slightly different to how we treat worms in the soil. Because worms can’t simply crawl away if they meet conditions they don’t like it is very important not to feed your worms any foods that may not agree with them. Things like dairy, spicy, cooked or oily food. Anything that is too acidic such as citrus shouldn’t be added either. Food should be added in small quantities and only add more food once the last batch of food is almost entirely consumed.
Worm Factory 360
Breakilon Worm Farm Composter
Urbalive Worm Farm
One of the things that set this apart from the bokashi system is that you have something that can be used on your plants. The worm casting can be separated and added directly to your house plants, or if you don’t have any plants of your own, gifted to a friend.
Best of both worlds
While worm composting is great, it is challenging because there is really only so much that can put in your bin. If you’re wondering, “Can I feed my fermented bokashi food waste to my worms?” the answer is a resounding yes. Because bokashi food waste is on the acidic side I highly recommend pocket feeding. Put a small amount into a corner of the bin and cover it with bedding. When the worms are ready they will move into it and break it down in a matter of days.
By combining both methods you could fully break down all of your waste right in our apartment.
I wouldn’t classify the Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler FC-50 as composting. It’s simply breaking the waste apart into smaller pieces and dehydrating it so it picks up less space in the trash. There are no microbes involved, lots of energy being used (6 to 7 hours per batch to be exact) and unless you are burring your waste somewhere the waste is still going to end up in the landfill. While it looks nice it is also on the pricy side. I could possibly see this being useful if you were producing a lot of waste and wanted a way to break it apart so that it could be fed to the worms or put into a bokashi bin. I will admit, I do have a bias. As a gardener, since I’m not getting to feed my soil with good quality compost rich in microbial life this isn’t an option I would consider for myself.
Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler FC-50
beyondGREEN Pet and Organic Waste Electric Composter
The beyondGREEN Pet and Organic Waste does something the other methods don’t which is it is designed to handle pet waste. If this is one of your concerns I could see the application in an apartment. And, while it does use a fair bit of energy, at least the end product can be used on your plants and returned to the soil.
If you have no outdoor space composting indoors is still a possibility. In this article we’ve gone through many different ways this can be achieved. If you’ve found this article useful please consider joining our email list. If you have any questions please let us know in the comments.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are often used to promote certain products and services. These products and services are only promoted because we believe them to be of high quality and that they are beneficial products/services to our readers. If you purchase these products/services through any affiliate links, Ah-Grow! will earn a commission paid for by the vendor. This is at no additional cost to you.